Gary L. White, Esq.
Florida is home to more than 3.5 million people aged 65 and older. While the legal protections these older individuals need are often similar to those recommended for their younger counterparts, these issues often come into sharper focus and become more urgent as we age.
– SOME KEY ELEMENTS OF ELDER LAW INCLUDE:
- Estate planning ensures that the elder’s wishes are carried out after his or her death.
- Advance healthcare directives to give the elder and his or her chosen representative control over medical care.
- Planning for long-term care before it becomes necessary.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, individuals who turn 65 years of age today have nearly a 70% chance of needing long-term care services during their remaining years of life. This harsh reality and the prohibitive cost of around-the-clock nursing care is why long-term care planning is increasingly important.
Elder Law Attorney Planning & Services
Long-Term Care Planning
Medicaid Institutional Program (ICP)
Medical Crisis Planning
Long-Term Care Planning For Florida Residents
The average cost of a private room in a Florida nursing home is $9,148 per month. That’s nearly $110,000 per year. There are three ways a resident and his or her family can manage these costs:
Long term care insurance
With assistance from a public benefits program such as Medicaid
Private pay for even a relatively short-term stay in a nursing home can put a serious dent in your savings, but long-term residence can wipe out your assets. This is especially problematic when one spouse requires long-term care, but the other must continue to support day-to-day life at home.
Fortunately, you have options for protecting your assets while preserving access to the medical care and living assistance you may need in the future. However, fully protecting yourself and your family requires advance planning.
Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP)
The Medicaid Institutional Care Program (ICP) helps people who require skilled or intermediate care in a nursing facility to cover the costs of that care. The program also provides general medical coverage, and there is no limit on the duration of the coverage.
The person requiring long-term care must still establish financial eligibility, and at first glance the limits are stringent. However, the treatment of income and assets and the options for becoming Medicaid-eligible are more complex than you might imagine. An estate planning attorney who is experienced in Medicaid planning can:
Help you determine which assets are exempt in the eligibility calculation
Assess which assets may be transferred, and to whom, without impacting eligibility
Determine whether a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust and/or a Qualified Income Trust (QIT) will be necessary
Many people are surprised to discover how much assets can be retained while receiving long-term care assistance from Medicaid.
But, transfers made shortly before becoming eligible, applying, or entering the nursing home facility draw special scrutiny, and can trigger a period of ineligibility. In fact, certain types of transfers made up to five years prior to applying can impact eligibility. Therefore, it is in your best interest not to wait until your health is failing to seek guidance on Medicaid eligibility. The earlier you begin to plan, the more options you will have for protecting your assets.
Medicaid Crisis Planning
An Experienced Elder Law Attorney Can Help Protect Your Future
Good planning is the key to a secure future, from providing for your loved ones after your death to ensuring that your wishes are carried out if you need medical care after becoming incapacitated. An estate planning attorney with experience in elder care issues can help you assess your current situation and potential future needs and create the structure that best protects your interests.