Missouri Elder Law Attorney
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Mom is doing very well, mentally and physically, but dad is not doing well.
Dad’s condition is starting to take its toll on mom, and even though the nursing home shouldn’t happen for dad anytime soon, if something happens to mom and she’s not available, it becomes more likely dad will need the nursing home. It’s not likely we have 5 years to transfer assets and not be penalized by Medicaid, so what, if anything should they do now?
The first thing everyone should always do is be certain good, current durable powers of attorney have been executed and available.
The next step is to assure mom. If dad needs to go to a nursing home, all assets will not be lost paying for it. With proper planning, it is very likely we can help the family preserve all their assets and the worst case being dad’s income goes to pay the nursing home. We may even be able to properly plan at the time of application that not all dad’s income will go to the nursing home.
The next step should be transferring all assets to a living trust for mom. This is a good idea to protect your parents' assets from scammers or lawsuits by virtue of dad’s actions and abilities during this diminishing time of his life. It is also a good idea to protect the assets in case mom unexpectedly dies before dad. We would want to have a chance for dad to enter the nursing home without any assets in his name. There are many laws effecting this scenario, but the idea is to provide your family with multiple options.
Mom is doing very well, mentally and physically, but she is getting older.
There’s no real urgency, but no one is getting younger and we have done no planning before and now it’s time. What should we do?
We commonly say, the most important first step is to ensure mom has good, current durable powers of attorney available.
Next, the only guarantee is that each of us will someday die. Our goal here should be to implement a plan to provide the most options and flexibility. This is similar to purchasing insurance, i.e. guarding against the dreaded “what if this happens” scenario.
Mom has a couple of options to avoid probate. She may place beneficiary designations on each of her assets, or she may transfer title of all assets to what is commonly referred to as a “living trust.” This makes future planning and changes very easy and makes provision in case a child or other beneficiary dies first, becomes incapacitated, and doesn’t have a durable power of attorney for themselves, or has other problems such as divorce or being sued.
Finally, we can discuss with mom the idea of asset protection. If it is likely mom won’t need the nursing home within 5 years and doesn’t have any looming creditor problems, one option is to transfer certain assets to a type of trust that protects the assets from unscrupulous family members or scammers, potential creditors, such as from a car wreck, or her nursing home costs. This trust is not the typical “living trust” used for standard estate planning.
Mom is in the nursing home, now what?
There are numerous factors to consider in this scenario, but the first one is to determine whether mom has good, current durable powers of attorney. If she doesn’t, the next question is whether she has “testamentary capacity.” This means she knows her family by name and the relationships, she generally knows what she owns, and she very generally understands, as a layman would, what we’re talking about when discussing durable powers of attorney.
The next important step is to collect all mom’s financial information. This includes all current sources of income, bank statements, deeds to property, and statements or policies on all sources of insurance (including life insurance, home owner’s insurance, health insurance, etc.).
You should discuss other payment options with the social worker or billing department of the nursing home. Options available may depend on whether the nursing home is an Assisted Living Facility (ALF) or a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).
Medicaid may pay up to $290 per month for a person at an ALF under the Supplemental Nursing Care program, if available. Medicaid may pay all costs at a SNF, or at least all except mom’s income. The Medicaid laws are intricate and extensive; therefore, many options may be available depending on the family and the assets involved.
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Reach out to Paths Elder Law today and you'll be one step closer to the peace of mind you're searching for.
We offer an initial consultation (one hour and fifteen minutes) for just $250.00.