I hear a lot of things from my clients at our first meeting when
their spouse or parent has entered a nursing home and they need to seek
eligibility for Medicaid/MassHealth in order to continue paying for the care. Some of the things my clients have been told are:
- The Government is going to take your house,
- Just give everything away, that will protect it,
- You need to spend all of the money on the nursing home before you can qualify for Medicaid,
- You can just give your house to your child for $1.00,
- You don't need an attorney to help you, they just complicate things.
These are all actual things that my clients report they have heard
from their neighbor, their accountant, the nursing home billing
department, a non-lawyer Medicaid Application company, or an attorney
who does not practice elder law and is not familiar with the Medicaid
This scares me. I wonder how many people I am not meeting with who are acting on these "instructions" from people they trust and think have the answers.
When I first meet with my clients, we spend
time going over the things they have heard, or read, or been told by
others. Many times I'm able to say "Yes, that was good advice" or
"Yes, you did the right thing." Other times I've been able to say "The
plan you made was good back then, but now that things have changed we
need to adjust it." And sometimes I have to say, "The consequences of
that action are this, let's see if there's any way to mitigate the
damage." So far most of my clients who have heard the above myths have
been wary about acting on them and have sought my advice before making
a move that could have a terrible domino affect.
When you are hearing "advice" from someone consider a few things:
- Whose interests is this person trying to protect - yours or the nursing homes?
- Does this person practice in this area regularly, or are they just dabbling?
- Does this person know when to get an elder law attorney involved, or do they think they can handle everything themselves?
If you have a loved one in a nursing home who may need Medicaid coverage to help pay for their care, or you think they may in the future and you want the advice and guidance of an attorney, please call my office at 781-749-2284 for an appointment. You'll get the answers you need about what is myth and what is fact when it comes to Medicaid.
Estate Planning, Probate and Trusts involve complex areas of law. Individual circumstances must be considered before any advice can be given. The general information above is not to be construed as legal advice, which can only be given after consideration of the unique facts of each matter. Please seek the advice or counsel of your attorney, financial advisor or CPA as it may be appropriate.