Ambrose was getting on in years, and he missed his wife who had recently died. So he sold the home, put the $100,000.00 in the bank, and moved onto his son Arthur’s farm. Every day Ambrose got up at the crack of dawn to milk Arthur’s cows, and he felt healthy as a horse. So he really didn’t see the need to do any financial planning.
But one day Ambrose fell and broke his hip. Complications set in, and he needed long-term nursing care. He did not qualify for Medicaid benefits, to pay for the nursing home, because he owned far more than the $2,000.00-limit before Medicaid would pay. Now it was too late to do the kind of planning that would have saved most or all of Ambrose’s money. Would everything have to go to the nursing home?
Fortunately Ambrose and Arthur went straight to a good elder law attorney. That lawyer knew his Medicaid regulations and worked out a plan. Ambrose could give half the $100,000.00 as a gift to Arthur. This would result in a “penalty period,” which the Medicaid rules impose when an applicant has given away assets during five years before the application. So, over the penalty period, Ambrose would have to pay for his nursing-home care. To do that, he could buy an annuity for $48,000.00. The annuity would provide an income stream to pay for the nursing home until the end of the penalty period. When that was over, Ambrose would be left with only $2,000.00, and Medicaid would begin paying for Ambrose’s care at that point.
That lawyer saved Ambrose and Arthur $50,000.00. That’s what you pay an elder law attorney for.