Medicaid Law And Living Trusts

Medicaid Law And Living Trusts

Published in The Post Standard, July 2002

Too many Americans mistakenly assume that they only need a will in order to effectively plan their estate. In fact, an effective estate plan will include a will, health care proxy, living will, durable power of attorney, deed with life use, Medicaid planning and a living trust.

You can transfer your house to a friend or family member and then retain life use for you and your spouse. Retaining this life use means you keep your STAR reduction on your school taxes and possibly save the house should you need to go to a nursing home.

Also, you do not always have to wait 36 months before you enter a nursing home in order to save your assets. The Medicaid law does allow you to transfer some assets either just before you enter a nursing home or while you are in a nursing home. Finally, the living trust drafted in compliance with the Medicaid law is another way to preserve family assets against the possibility of losing family assets to the nursing home.

Another important aspect of any estate plan is preparing for the possibility that at some point you may no longer be able to handle your own affairs.

The durable power of attorney allows one or more persons, called your agents, to act on your behalf. The word "durable" refers to the fact that the power of attorney will continue to be valid even if you become incapacitated or incompetent.

A health care proxy names someone to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated. A living will specifies what medical treatments you want and do not want if you cannot speak for yourself. Finally, even if you have a living trust, you will still need a Last Will and Testament to distribute those assets that are not placed in the trust.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, Mr. McMahon offers families the estate planning documents discussed in the preceding paragraphs. The McMahon Law Firm also prepares Medicaid applications for nursing home care. The family will not have to appear before the Medicaid office since the McMahon Law Firm submits the Medicaid application.

Mr. McMahon provides a free initial consultation in order to provide information to the family. For more information, call 800.391.9987.