Long-Term Care Planning

At Berg Bryant Elder Law Group, we understand the challenges that aging can bring, and we are dedicated to providing comprehensive elder law services to our clients. One of the most critical issues that older adults, caregivers, and their families face is planning for long-term care. The complexities of the financial, legal, and healthcare systems can be daunting, but with our expert guidance, you can navigate these waters with confidence and peace of mind.

Understanding Long-Term Care Planning

Long-term care planning involves preparing for potential daily assistance you might require as you age and your health issues begin to affect your day-to-day living. This planning is crucial because it affects your quality of life, your family’s peace of mind, and your financial stability. By proactively addressing these issues, you can ensure that your personal care and financial needs are met in a way that respects your choices and protects your assets.

  • Nursing homes in Northeast Florida are $10,000 to $14,000 per month
  • Assisted living facilities in Northeast Florida are $ 3,500 to $7,000 per month
  • Home health care aids or agencies are $21 to 25 per hour.

Long-term care planning seeks to address these potential costs in the future.

Medicaid Planning: An Essential Component of Long-Term Care

Many people do not realize the extent to which Medicaid can provide relief for long-term care costs. Medicaid is a federal-state program designed to assist low-income individuals and families with healthcare costs, including long-term care expenses. However, eligibility for Medicaid is based on strict income and asset limits, which is where Medicaid planning comes into play.

Medicaid planning is a legal strategy to help protect your assets and ensure eligibility for Medicaid if long-term care is needed. There are various strategies, including creating a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (if you have the time before needing Medicaid) and Medicaid crisis planning, which can be effectively utilized based on individual circumstances.

Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT)

An Irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) is an effective tool to protect your assets from being consumed by long-term care costs, while simultaneously ensuring your eligibility for Medicaid. Assets placed in a MAPT are not considered in determining Medicaid eligibility. This legal tool requires careful planning and execution, as it is irrevocable and comes with a five-year look-back period, during which any asset transfers may affect Medicaid eligibility. Despite the fact the trust is irrevocable, there are many contingency and flexibility features that can be built into the trust document so that you can maintain control. Compared to Medicaid Crisis Planning, the MAPT allows for maximum flexibility for your care needs, protection of your home equity, it protects against general creditors and financial exploitation, and it can protect a greater percentage of your assets.

Medicaid Crisis Planning

For those facing an imminent need for long-term care, Medicaid crisis planning can provide a crucial lifeline. Even if you have not planned five years in advance, there are still strategies that can protect a significant portion of your assets while ensuring you qualify for Medicaid. Each situation is unique, so it’s important to consult with an experienced elder law attorney for personalized advice.

Importance of Durable Power of Attorney

Another essential aspect of long-term care planning is setting up a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA). This legal document allows you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf, should you become incapable of doing so. Having a Durable POA ensures your healthcare, financial, and legal decisions are in the hands of someone you trust and who understands your wishes.

We see two massive issues the DPOAs that come into this office from other providers. First, online forms are worded too generally and do not include specific Medicaid planning provisions inside the forms. We have not seen one DPOA online version that can come close to providing all the Medicaid crisis planning options when you need it. Second, many forms from online providers and even other attorneys lack the specific language required for Medicaid crisis asset protection and are not even updated with changes made to Florida law in 2011. While some attorney utilize more restrictive DPOA documents in their planning, these forms usually do not allow for Medicaid planning.