Wills, Trusts and Medicaid Asset Protection
Wills, Trusts and Medicaid Asset Protection

Medicaid Estate Planning

When developing a Medicaid plan for an individual (or couple) The Law Office of Antony M. Eminowicz, Esq believes in the holistic approach: we study the matter as a whole, and not just the sum of their parts. We ensure that every client’s estate plan is reviewed and amended, if appropriate, when a Medicaid strategy is being implemented.  Here are two examples of how unknowledgeable Medicaid planning can drain the assets of families.

1. Medicaid can be lost and an estate depleted with the wrong Will 

As an example, look at a couple with a classic ‘I love you Will’. This type of Will leaves everything to the other spouse on the first death, and then to the children on the second death. Now consider what happens if either husband or wife requires nursing home care and has Medicaid coverage. The ‘healthy’ spouse dies leaving their entire estate to the institutionalized spouse. The institutionalized spouse loses their Medicaid coverage and must maintain private monthly payments upwards of $11,000 until a significant portion of the estate has been depleted.

Among the options, an appropriate Will could have incorporated a trust for the benefit of the institutionalized spouse, or left the estate outright to any children. Every client is unique in the types of assets they hold, so a variety of options must be explored before an appropriate estate plan is settled upon.

Antony M. Eminowicz, Esq will review the myriad of variables in place to help ensure that the appropriate estate plan is implemented (alongside any proposed Medicaid strategy) to best ensure continuing eligibility for Medicaid benefits, protection of the bulk of the estate, and protection against the placement of a Medicaid Lien.

2. Medicaid can be denied because of a standard New York Power of Attorney

This office frequently deals with powers of attorneys that do not have the necessary language to enable an agent to implement a proposed Medicaid strategy. Such documents are usually those downloaded from the Internet or from a stationary store.

Take, for example, the mother who has appointed her son as agent under her standard power of attorney. Mother has now lost capacity and requires Home Medicaid coverage. Her ‘standard’ power of attorney does not have a specific provision allowing for a pooled income trust – a typical New York trust that enables people with excess income to qualify for Community Medicaid Coverage. The son makes a Medicaid application anyway, and his mother is subsequently denied because she has too much income. If mother’s power of attorney had the necessary language, her son (as agent) could have acted to divert any excess income to a pooled income trust, thereby qualifying mother for Home Medicaid.

A power of attorney with “teeth” is the cornerstone of any Elder Law planning. Let The Law Office of Antony M. Eminowicz, Esq help you prepare such a power of attorney by utilizing the necessary language and enable your chosen agent to help you with any of your future long term care needs.