You should take a pragmatic approach to the eventualities aging. Most people are going to need help with their activities of daily living at some point. This is a fact of life, so you should accept it, gain an understanding of the important details, and make the appropriate preparations.
Medicare Won’t Help
The first thing that you should understand about long-term care is the simple fact that Medicare will not cover this type of assistance. It will pay for convalescent care, but the coverage does not extend to the custodial care that nursing homes and in-home caregivers provide.
Long-Term Care Costs
As estate planning attorneys, we help people facilitate asset transfers, but legacy preservation is another element that can be overlooked. Without question, if you have to pay for long-term care out of your own pocket, a great deal of money will be lost.
The median annual cost for a private room in a nursing home on Hilton Head Island was $115,888 last year. For an in-home caregiver, the figure was $52,624.
Just over half of people that need paid care require the assistance for more than a year, and a married couple may be forced to deal with two different sets of long-term care bills.
Aging in Place
In-home care is preferable for many seniors because the familiarity of your own home is comforting as you are getting older. However, a lot of people move into assisted living facilities because the environment is constructed to accommodate seniors with mobility challenges.
There is an alternative in the form of aging in place modifications, and they can be ongoing as your needs evolve over the years. Many people adapt their own homes, and others will move in with loved ones who are willing to make the necessary changes.
You may be surprised when you learn about all the different modifications that can make life easier. There are walk-in showers and tubs, keyless entry systems, grab bars, handrails, and wheelchair accessibility modifications of all kinds.
This can be the ideal solution for many seniors that need help with their activities of daily living, but there is still the matter of in-home care costs if you need professional assistance.
Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver
Medicaid will pay for long-term care if you can gain eligibility. The standard program will cover a stay in a nursing home, and there is a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver that will pay for in-home care.
Since Medicaid is only available to people that can demonstrate a significant level of financial need, there is a $2000 asset limit. A home is not a countable asset, but there is a $603,000 equity limit.
You do not want to qualify for Medicaid as a homeowner if you can help it because of the Medicaid estate recovery mandate. If it is in your personal possession at the time of your passing and you are a Medicaid beneficiary, they can place a lien on the home.
An income only, irrevocable Medicaid trust is the solution. You can convey your home and countable assets, with an emphasis on income-producing assets, into the trust.
The resources that are held by the trust would not count if you apply for Medicaid or the Medicaid Waiver, with one important stipulation. You have to fund the trust at least five years before you apply for Medicaid eligibility.
Schedule a Consultation!
As you can see, you can take intelligent steps to prepare for the future as you preserve your legacy for the benefit of your loved ones. If you are ready to get started, you can schedule a consultation at our Bluffton, SC elder law office if you call us at 843-815-8580.
There is also a contact form on this site you can use if you would rather send us a message, and we will get back in touch with you promptly if you reach out electronically.
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