Elder Law is a blend of Medicaid and estate planning. While estate planning is focused on ensuring a client’s assets pass to intended beneficiaries after death, Medicaid planning is done to preserve a client’s assets during life by setting a client up to qualify for government benefits (Medicaid), should the client require long-term care.
The best-known Elder Law tool is the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (“MAPT”). While incredibly versatile, MAPTs tend to provide the most utility to a relatively healthy client. Due to intentional drafting by an Elder Law attorney, MAPTs allow a client to transfer assets to a MAPT and start the 5-year look back clock running for transferred assets. The more assets transferred into a MAPT, the more assets will be Medicaid protected if the client remains healthy, and out of a nursing home, for 5 years. In addition to providing this asset protection, MAPTs are also structed to direct where a client’s assets will pass when the client dies, providing a double benefit.
The other tools employed by Elder Law attorneys are: 1) a Last Will and Testament, 2) a Power of Attorney, 3) a Health Care Proxy and 4) a Living Will. Excepting the Last Will and Testament, these documents, commonly referred to as “advance planning directives,” are created to provide a stand-in for a client that loses the ability to make decisions on their own, typically due to dementia or other illness. A Power of Attorney is used to appoint a stand-in to make financial decisions for an incapacitated person; a Health Care Proxy is used to provide a stand-in to make health care decisions; a Living Will is a document that states whether a client wishes to receive care if the client is in an irreversible coma.
Call Now For A Personalized Evaluation