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3 reasons that planning for Medicaid is a smart elder law move

On Behalf of | Jan 14, 2024 | Estate Planning

Older adults in Georgia have unique legal needs when compared with younger people. For example, they have to consider the possibility of future cognitive decline. They may also need to address the risk of long-term care needs.

As people age, they sometimes become dependent on professionals or family members to help them meet their basic daily needs, such as showering and preparing meals. The costs associated with such care can far exceed someone’s retirement savings. Therefore, older adults in Georgia preparing for retirement or already retired and thinking about the future often need to talk with a professional about establishing a Medicaid plan. Medicaid planning helps an older adult more easily apply for long-term care benefits through Medicaid.

The following are the top reasons that advance Medicaid planning is so important for adults near or past retirement age.

The need to qualify quickly

People generally do not apply for Medicaid until their costs reach an untenable level. At that point, they may have very few resources left in their own names. They may assume that they can qualify for benefits as soon as they apply. Unfortunately, Medicaid looks at five years’ worth of financial records, including transfers to family members and trusts. Any large or inappropriate transfers during that lookback period may trigger a penalty that can delay someone’s actual eligibility for Medicaid coverage. Advance planning helps eliminate the likelihood of a penalty that would delay someone’s access to Medicaid coverage.

The desire to protect a legacy

People can potentially qualify for Georgia Medicaid while still retaining valuable property. Specifically, the home where they live should not affect their eligibility for benefits. However, it may be at risk after they die. Advance planning helps protect someone’s most valuable property, including the home where they live, from claims in probate court after their death. The state can request reimbursement for every cent distributed for someone’s care.  Medicaid planning can protect assets from estate recovery efforts that would leave their loved ones with very little inheritance after they die.

Peace of mind about the future

Not everyone needs Medicaid benefits, but most people worry about possible future financial challenges. Someone who takes the time to protect key assets and increase their chances of getting Medicaid coverage if they ever need that support may feel more confident and comfortable during their golden years.

In these ways, addressing elder law needs early can improve someone’s sense of comfort and stability later in life.