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The Plain English Attorney

 

Big Myth

It’s one of the biggest Medicaid myths out there: Believing that you can give away all your assets right before deciding to go into a nursing home. It’s right up there with the existence of fairies, unicorns and leprechauns ─ except those beliefs can’t cost you or your family hundreds of thousands of dollars.

 

Big Mistake

While gifting may be a valid strategy as part of an overall plan, just giving your stuff away is going to trigger periods of ineligibility when trying to qualify for Medicaid. You could actually end up disqualifying yourself for more than five years if you give away all your stuff and then try to apply for benefits. You become ineligible for up to a full month’s time for each $6,500 gift ─ and that ineligibility starts when you apply for benefits that you would have otherwise been eligible for had it not been for the gifts.

So, if you give all your assets away, Medicaid computes the value of those gifts. Then then the conversation will go something like this:

Medicaid: “The amount you gave away totals 6 ½ years of benefits. Therefore, you are ineligible for 6 ½ years and you need to pay for yourself over that time period.”  

You:  “Well, I gave all my money away, how am I supposed to pay for that?”

Medicaid: “Not our problem.”

Giving everything away not only doesn’t work, it could make your financial future worse by jeopardizing your Medicaid eligibility for even more than 5 years.

 

Addressing the Big Questions

There are a lot of other Medicaid myths out there that are addressed in my book, Don’t Go Broke! The Truth Behind North Carolina Long Term Care Planning.  If you would like a copy of this publication or just have further questions and would like to meet with us to talk about qualifying for Medicaid or other long term care planning options, simply contact our office. Our friendly and caring staff would like to help you. 

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