Asset Protection Lawyers in Southern Indiana and Kentucky
We make plans to get together with friends and plans to go away on vacation, but many of us delay making plans for our care as we age. Such an important issue may seem like an overwhelming prospect, but it doesn’t have to be. Consulting with an experienced estate attorney can help you get organized, identify your goals, and prepare for what’s ahead. Whether you are years away from needing long-term care or already have a loved one in a nursing facility, there are tactics and tools that can be implemented to help protect assets from the high costs of such care.
The Floyd County asset protection lawyers at McNeely Stephenson have guided many people through the estate planning process efficiently and effectively. When you’re ready to discuss developing such a strategy for you and your family, we are here for you. We understand the sensitive nature of these topics and are committed to providing each of our clients with personal attention. We encourage you to speak candidly about your wishes so that together, we can map out the best route possible for taking control of future health care challenges.
The cost of long-term care depends on several variables including location, provider used, and the type and duration of care needed. For example, some nursing facilities have all-inclusive fees while others charge extra for services that go beyond the basic amenities. Health aides that make home visits are generally more expensive in the evening, on the weekend, and on holidays. An annual survey assessing state and regional data reports 2015’s average costs for long-term care in Indiana as:
- $215 per day or $78,475 per year for a semi-private room in a nursing home
- $250 per day or $91,250 per year for a private room in a nursing home
- $3,693 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
- $20 per hour for a home health aide
- $19 per hour for homemaker services
- $80 per day for services in an adult day health care center.
Median long-term care costs in Kentucky are slightly lower, estimated at:
- $208 per day or $75,920 per year for a semi-private room in a nursing home
- $239 per day or $87,235 per year for a private room in a nursing home
- $3,350 per month for care in an assisted living facility (for a one-bedroom unit)
- $19 per hour for a home health aide
- $19 per hour for homemaker services
- $67 per day for services in an adult day health care center.
No matter what your age or what state you live in, you can benefit from making an informed decision on how best to preserve your independence, your home, and your savings. Once you are over age 65, you can apply for Medicaid, a benefits program jointly administered by the federal government and the states. Medicaid kicks in to help pay for nursing home care only for people who meet certain income and asset levels. Among the many complexities of the Medicaid system is keeping up with all the changes – including the allowed amounts, which change annually. The “lookback rule” is one of the reasons it’s important to plan ahead. Under this rule, eligibility for Medicaid may be denied if the person going into the nursing home transferred assets for less than fair market value within 60 months before his or her application for Medicaid benefits.
For a married Medicaid applicant, an assessment of resources as a couple is made. All of the non-exempt assets held by the spouses, regardless of ownership, are combined. Certain assets are excluded from the calculation such as the residence, household goods, a vehicle, burial funds, and a few other miscellaneous items. This amount is then used to determine the “spousal share,” which is one-half of the couple’s combined resources. Of the half attributed to the spouse going into the nursing home, that spouse is disqualified from receiving Medicaid until his or her share of the assets is reduced to $2,000. The spouse outside of the nursing home can retain his or her half up to a maximum plus the items that were excluded from calculating the shares.
Outright asset transfers to family members or to a trust for the applicant’s benefit both have advantages and disadvantages. For example, an outright transfer is subject to the whims of human nature. That is, you could end up having a bad relationship with the child you gave your assets to or your assets could be swallowed up by that child’s divorce, bankruptcy, creditors, bad investments, or spending habits. On the other hand, you do not have access to the money in a trust and the trustee cannot have any discretion to distribute trust principal to you or else the principal will be considered a resource for Medicaid purposes.
It is not illegal to structure one’s assets in an effort to qualify for Medicaid nursing home benefits, although it is a crime to hide assets for that reason. Not sure of the difference? Consult an elder law or estate law attorney who can advise you on what can be done within the confines of the law.
Whatever your situation or hopes for the future, the New Albany, IN, asset protection lawyers at McNeely Stephenson can help. We understand the issues and can guide you through the planning process. We will work closely with you and help you make the best decisions possible. We have worked with many families, and we look forward to working with yours. For skilled and knowledgeable representation, contact us by calling 812-725-8224 or filling out our online form. Based in New Albany, Indiana, we proudly serve communities throughout Kentuckiana including, but not limited to, Jefferson County, KY, Floyd County, IN, Clark County, IN, and Harrison County, Indiana.