They say that time marches on, and it stands still for no one. When you are a child, this is hard to wrap your head around, because time seems to move very slowly as you look forward to getting older. However, at some point in time, you see how true these statements actually are.
If you are a parent in your own right, you watch your children as they start to come into their own as young adults. On the other end of the spectrum, you may also see that your parents are getting up there in years. They may require help from you from time to time, and they may actually seek advice about certain things.
With all this in mind, we will look at the subject of nursing home asset protection for aging parents in this blog post.
Consider the Odds
When you are evaluating possibilities, you are going to look at statistical realities. A government agency tells us that seven out of 10 seniors will need living assistance at some point in time. Clearly, some people can get help from family and friends in their own homes, and there are paid caregivers that will provide in-home care as well.
There are also those who will ultimately reside in assisted living communities and nursing homes. You should be fully aware of the fact that these facilities are very expensive. In New Jersey where we practice law, the average annual charge for a room in a nursing home is over $100,000 in most areas, and it is not uncommon for seniors to require multiple years of care.
The United States Census Bureau conducted a study to determine how many elders are actually residing in nursing homes. Among people who are 85 years of age and older, the figure is 24.5 percent. Around 50 percent of people who are at least 95 years of age are nursing home residents.
It is statistically likely that someone who is reaching the age of 67 on this day will live until he or she is at least 85. When you combine all of the statistics, you can see why families should prepare for potential nursing home costs.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
We have shared the state of long-term care costs, but we should also point out the fact that these expenses are going up on an annual basis. If your parents are just entering their retirement years, and they need long-term care in perhaps 15 or 20 years, the costs could be much higher than they are today.
The Medicare program does not pay for long-term care, and this is why the issue is so important. Medicaid does pay for living assistance, and it is the solution for a very significant percentage of senior citizens.
You are probably aware of the fact that Medicare is only available to financially needy people. The limit on countable assets is just $2000, but there are some assets that don’t count. Plus, a healthy spouse could keep half of shared assets that are countable up to a certain limit if his or her spouse is applying for Medicaid to pay for long-term care.
People often give away countable assets so that they can qualify for Medicaid if they require long-term care. This is not as alarming as it may sound when you consider the fact that people who enter nursing homes are usually going to spend the rest of their lives in the facilities. When these gifts are given, the recipients are essentially receiving their inheritances in advance.
Doing all of this in the ideal manner takes informed advance planning, because rules are complex. Plus, the gift giving must be completed at least five years before the application for Medicaid coverage is submitted. Eligibility is delayed if this five-year look-back is violated.
Schedule a Consultation
This is a subject that you can learn a bit about if you absorb this type of written information, but the entirety of the matter is so complex that it really requires a face-to-face conversation so that all of the details can be covered. Nursing home asset protection is a very important matter, and it is certainly something that you should discuss with an elder law attorney.
If you are ready to take action, our firm would be glad to help. We have assisted countless people here in central New Jersey who have preserved resources before applying for Medicaid, and we can answer your questions and help you put a plan in place.
To set up a consultation, send us a message through our contact page or give us a call at (908) 222-8803.
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