Perhaps your situation is simple. You have no spouse. You have no children. You have no house, no car and no more than $2,000 in the bank. Your memory is intact and your mind is sharp: you can complete the Medicaid application all on your own.
Perhaps your situation is a little less simple and you have planned ahead. You have recorded a deed passing title to your home when you and your spouse are gone. You have completed a DMV form transferring title to the car on your death. Your bank account is held pay on death to one or more people. You have named beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, your IRA and any employment-related retirement plan. Your documents are all in order. You have someone who knows all about you and can help you complete the Medicaid application, file their taxes and submit any insurance claims.
Or you may need an elder lawyer’s help in getting some of this done.
Ways an Elder Law Attorney can help when you apply for Medicaid:
Particularly, if you have a spouse at home or monthly income even one dollar over the Texas Medicaid limit, you may need an elder lawyer’s help in providing for your spouse and qualifying for Medicaid.
An elder law attorney who is experienced in addressing Medicaid law and regulations and working with “the system” can help avoid small mistakes which could have big consequences. An elder lawyer can help you determine whether becoming eligible for Medicaid will get you the best care you can afford and, if so, how to qualify. The rules and formulas are complex and changing. He or she can identify strategies for faster eligibility, saving months of nursing home expenses.
These may include legal tools you have never heard of. A court can be asked to issue a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”) transferring your 401(k) or other retirement plan to your spouse. A Qualified Income Trust (“QIT”), also known as a Miller Trust, can bring your monthly income to a Medicaid-eligible level while providing a minimum income for your spouse and ensuring that medical expenses not covered by Medicaid are paid.
An elder law attorney can also help you determine whether the amount of resources protected for your spouse’s benefit should be increased and how. An elder law attorney can help you get bids for a Medicaid-compliant annuity – without the salesman’s blather and hidden fee.
An elder law attorney can help you handle your business property and keep your home – even if both you and your spouse are in a nursing home.
Let an elder and estate planning lawyer experienced in asset, spousal and family business protection, long-term care and Medicaid planning help you stay in charge. The Garrett Law Firm works with individuals and families throughout Central Texas to create practical, low-cost solutions. Call 800-295-3449 or Schedule a Consultation via our Contact page.
Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.