Incapacity planning is a broad area of law that covers how you are cared for if you become physically or mentally unable to care for yourself. The type of care could range from simple tasks like buying groceries, cooking meals, help bathing, and paying bills to more important decisions such as having to move to a facility and selling real estate.  Within the realm of incapacity planning, there are also arrangements that deal specifically with decisions regarding steps taken to obtain Medicaid benefits.

Medicaid Planning falls into two categories: Pre-Planning and Emergency Planning.  Emergency Planning is exactly as the name infers – planning because of a crisis situation, when a person is already mentally or physically incapacitated resulting in the dire need for immediate assisted living or nursing care.  Now the family realizes there is not enough money to pay for this outrageously expensive care, so the only choice is to try to get the person qualified for Medicaid.  Unfortunately, this is exactly the planning (or lack thereof) that most people do.  Emergency Planning is not only much more expensive, it also causes the entire family to suffer a tremendous amount of unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Medicaid Pre-Planning, on the other hand, is getting the person financially eligible in anticipation that they will eventually have a physical or mental need for the assisted living or nursing care.  Why would someone want to do this, because they love their family and want to reposition assets to protect their spouse’s financial independence and preserve assets for the next generation.

When you determine that you want to move forward with this type of planning, it’s an absolute necessity that you work with a qualified estate planning attorney with a focus on Medicaid planning. This attorney will find the optimal solutions for you (or your loved one) in the event of future legal incapacitation.

So when should you start Medicaid Pre-Planning?  The first question is when to begin incapacity planning, and the answer is very simple – yesterday!  Since none of us can predict the future, and most people don’t know how soon, how late, or even if tragedy will ever strike, putting in place the necessary documents that will allow your family to take care of you in the case of serious illness, injury, disability or incapacity, should be done as soon as possible! Doing this brings peace of mind knowing that you are covered should you become legally incapacitated.  Incapacity planning includes doing your estate and family protection plan which includes documents such as a Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians, HIPAA Authorization and Declaration of Guardian in case of future incapacitation. You also need a Last Will and Testament and can definitely benefit from a Living Trust.  Once this is in place, then you look at Medicaid Pre-planning.

Since Medicaid has a 5-year look back period, ideally, pre-planning should start at least 5-years prior to the need for assisted living or nursing care.  Do you know when you or your loved one might need this type of care?  Probably not, so the sooner you plan, the better.  But since every family is different, we highly recommend you take the time NOW to meet with a professional Medicaid Planning attorney.   This attorney will assess your family’s financial situation, listen to your goals, and let you know how the Medicaid guidelines apply to your circumstances. Then, he can recommend strategies for working within the guidelines to best meet your family’s needs.

At HAIMAN HOGUE, Attorney Jeff Crouch can help you determine if you qualify for Medicaid. He also helps clients determine if they qualify for Veterans Benefits. All you have to do is call our office and request a free initial consultation.  During this meeting, Mr. Crouch will carefully assess your income and other factors to determine whether or not you currently qualify or if you need to take certain steps to get you qualified in the future.

Medicaid planning is a complex process, but at HAIMAN HOGUE, we have the experience to help you reach a solution. To schedule an appointment to discuss your situation, please contact the Elder Law and Estate Planning professionals at HAIMAN HOGUE today:

(469) 89-ELDER {469-893-5337} or info@HaimanHogue.com