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LK Alert: Asset Transfer Penalty Reversed for Non-Medicaid Cases

"CAVEAT EMPTOR: Be careful who you listen to" by Bernard A. Krooks

"The Hitch in Home Transfers," AARP Magazine, featuring Bernard A. Krooks

New York Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning

You’ve worked hard for your family’s financial security. Perhaps you intend your savings to pay for a grandchild’s college, vacations, or a secure retirement. The sky-rocketing costs of long-term care can threaten those plans. Medical advances have led to longer, more active lives, but they have also increased the likelihood that, at some point, you will require long-term care.

In New York State, a single year of long-term care can cost more than $200,000. Many individuals mistakenly believe that Medicare will pay for long-term care, but that is not the case. Medicaid is the only publicly funded program that covers long-term care and it has stringent eligibility requirements. In New York, only individuals with $14,550 or less in “countable” assets are eligible for Medicaid, leading many people to mistakenly assume that they must either forego public benefits or spend their life’s savings before applying for aid.

However, with appropriate planning (spousal refusal, gifting programs, establishing a trust, or more) by one of our experienced New York elder law attorneys, you and your family can maximize the government benefits to which you’re entitled while ensuring that the assets you’ve fought to accumulate remain in the hands of the family you’ve supported.

In addition, Medicaid legislation is in a constant state of flux, with policies, waiting periods, and maximum asset / income levels becoming ever stricter. And this trend will continue, as the median age of America creeps ever upward—which means that early, thoughtful Medicaid planning will become even more crucial to the development of a comprehensive estate plan for you and your family.

The principle is simple: to maximize the efficiency of your assets, you should ensure you’re not paying for something that can be covered under Medicaid. Our attorneys stand ready to consult with you and your family regarding your medical needs, potential expenses, and Medicaid positioning. Our proven strategies of asset protection exist to maximize your Medicaid eligibility. In addition to assisting with paperwork, we can represent you in hearings before your local Medicaid agency.

For 2014, the following rules apply:

  • The asset allowance for an individual is $14,550.
  • Married couples who apply for home care together are allowed to retain $1,192 in monthly income (plus a $20 unearned income credit for some couples) and up to $20,100 in assets.
  • If the applicant is not married and receives health care at home, he or she will be entitled to retain $809 of monthly income (plus a $20 unearned income credit).
  • An individual, whether single or married, receiving skilled nursing care, is allowed to retain only $50 of monthly income as a personal allowance.

Contact one of our elder law attorneys today to schedule a consultation and discuss your Medicaid planning options.

Littman Krooks LLP is located in New York City, White Plains and Fishkill, NY and serves clients in and around White Plains, New Rochelle, Purchase, Hartsdale, Armonk, Scarsdale, Chappaqua, Hawthorne, Briarcliff Manor, Ardsley, Elmsford, Larchmont, Valhalla, Harrison, Port Chester, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington, Hastings on Hudson, Rye, Tuckahoe, Fishkill, Poughkeepsie, Bronx County, Nassau County, New York County, Queens County, Rockland County, Westchester County and Dutchess County.