As both your assets and your family grow, you will need to review and revise your estate plan to ensure that it reflects your current needs and objectives. One component that most people will want to add to their estate plan as they get older is Medicaid planning. Another important addition to your estate plan is funeral planning. The attorneys at Augulis Law Firm explain how adding a pre-paid funeral contract to your estate plan can actually help with both your funeral planning and your Medicaid plan.
Why Would I Need a Medicaid Plan?
Your need to qualify for Medicaid may be triggered by your need for long-term care (LTC) during your retirement years. Americans can now expect to live, on average, almost twice as long as their ancestors did just a century ago. A longer life, however, can also mean better odds of needing LTC. In fact, if you were entering your retirement years today, you would stand a 50-70 percent chance of needing some type of LTC services before the end of your life. If you are married, your spouse shares the same odds, dramatically increasing the odds of incurring LTC expenses at some point down the road – and the cost of that care will be high. At just over $125,000, the average cost for a year in LTC in New Hampshire is considerably higher than the national average of $80,000 a year. With an average length of stay of three years, it is easy to see how you can run up quite a bill if long-term care is needed. Because neither Medicare nor most private health care insurance will cover LTC expenses, over half of all seniors currently in LTC depend on Medicaid to help with the bill.
Although Medicaid is primarily funded by the federal government, it is administered by the individual states. Consequently, the eligibility guidelines and benefits offered can vary somewhat from state to state. All states, however, impose income and asset limits for applicants. It is the “countable resources” limit that often confuses applicants. Because Medicaid is intended to be a healthcare program for low-income individuals and families, an applicant cannot have countable resources (assets) valued over the program limit, and those limits are typically very low.
How Can a Pre-Paid Funeral Plan Help?
While you may prefer not to dwell on the eventuality of your own death, the truth is that death can be very expensive. Experts tell us that an average modest funeral and burial will run over $10,000. Your loved ones will be responsible for figuring out how to pay for everything involved in your funeral and burial, and how to best honor your wishes, if you failed to plan ahead. Furthermore, they will need to accomplish all of this while trying to handle the very recent loss of someone they love.
A pre-paid funeral plan removes all of that stress from your loved ones. It allows you to make all the decisions regarding your funeral and burial yourself, ensuring that your wishes will be honored. It also arranges for payment ahead of time so that your loved ones don’t have to scramble to find the funds needed for your funeral and burial.
In addition to providing you peace of mind regarding your funeral and burial, a pre-paid funeral plan is also an exempt asset for purposes of determining your eligibility for Medicaid. Along with your home (up to a certain equity limit), a vehicle, and life insurance up to a face value of $1,500, the value of your pre-paid funeral plan is not counted when determining if you are eligible for Medicaid in New Hampshire. This can be a great help if you find yourself needing to qualify for Medicaid to help cover LTC expenses.
Contact Medicaid Attorneys
For more information, please join us for an upcoming FREE seminar. If you have questions or concerns about how a pre-paid funeral plan can help with both funeral and Medicaid planning, contact the experienced Medicaid attorneys at Augulis Law Firm by calling 908-222-8803 to schedule your appointment today.