Monday, June 10, 2024

Estate planning attorney shares Medicaid tips

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 5, 2011

How to Protect Your Family's Assets book cover
How to Protect Your Family’s Assets book cover

Photos: News and Experts

The average monthly costs of nursing home care in the United States are $6,470 (according to How to Protect Your Family’s Assets) and the American Association of Retired Persons estimates the median annual cost of a private nursing home room is $75,000. That is a lot of money for just about anyone except the very wealthy. As the country’s aging Baby Boomer population faces its future how will the millions of members of that generation deal with illness, nursing home issues and the related financial obligations they come with? Many, especially in these trouble economic times, feel unprepared to deal with retirement, the health issues that accompany old age, nursing homes and hospice care.

What is a family to do? K. Gabriel Heiser, J.D. believes those who prepare in advance and learn about the issues they will have to deal with deserve to take advantage of government programs and protections such as Medicaid. He has specialized on estate planning and Medicaid eligibility planning, trusts, estates, gifts, and related tax issues, since graduating from Boston University School of Law in 1983. The mistake a lot of people make is thinking that they can’t qualify for Medicaid, according to Heiser who is author of How to Protect Your Family’s Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets (Phylius Press, $47).

“Many feel that because they own a home or have some assets that they can’t qualify for Medicaid help with their nursing home and doctor’s bills,” he said. “The truth is there are a variety of assets people can own and still qualify. It’s just a matter of knowing the rules, and making a plan to meet those requirements.”

The 281-page softcover book first published in 2007 and reprinted annually through 2010 is bright red with big green, white and brown letters. It is divided into nineteen chapters: Introduction, What Is Medicaid?, What Is Covered by Medicaid?, Applying for Benefits, Medicaid Qualification Rules, Income Qualification Rules, Asset Qualification Rules, Transferring Assets, Trusts, Strategies to Qualify, The Home: Planning Ideas, Annuities, Promissory Notes, Transfer Strategies, Post-Eligibility Issues, Estate Recovery, Case Studies, Veterans Pension: How It Works, and Veterans Pension: Planning Techniques; and an appendix.

Heiser strongly urges readers to rely on the counsel of a professional and use his book to be informed and prepare questions for the professionals who assist them. All the “secrets” and tips he shares, he explains, are legal and ethical.

K. Gabriel Heiser, author, <em>How to Protect Your Family's Assets

K. Gabriel Heiser, author, How to Protect Your Family’s Assets

“There are so many other rules that can benefit those who aren’t sure they’ll have enough when the time comes,” said Heiser. “The key is to plan now and act now. These laws exist for your protection, and avoiding the discussion and the planning necessary to take care of the potential complications just because it is an unpleasant topic will only result in a more unpleasant conversation when you realize you’re not ready when the worst happens. That can be a very expensive dilemma. Peace of mind right now, however, won’t cost a dime, and could save you hundreds of thousands of dimes later.”

How to Protect Your Family's Assets book cover

Click to buy How to Protect Your Family’s Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs (5th edition)