Does your mother live on her own? Is she currently enjoying good health and an active life? Have you, as her adult child, talked about her plans for the future, especially if she were to need critical nursing care? During the month of May, both National Elder Law Month and National Older American Month are celebrated. During both observances you and your mother could gain a lot of information and support about aging and planning ahead. During National Elder Law Month, Florida elder law attorneys will be out in their communities educating seniors about laws impacting them and the legal documents they need. During National Older Americans Month, Americans are reminded that the family, friends, and communities of seniors need to be supportive and protective. May is an important month of the year to ensure our aging Florida seniors have the support they need.
The month of May is a perfect time for you and your mother to begin planning for her future. First, it is highly recommended that your mother reach out to a qualified Florida elder law attorney. When your mother meets with her attorney, (s)he will know the costs of nursing home care and can advise your mother in regard to protecting her lifetime of savings from being completely used up by the cost of care, either in a nursing home or at home.
We would like to share and discuss three ways to prevent your mother and other aging Florida seniors from losing their life savings to a nursing home.
1. Your Planning Should Begin Now.
By planning now, Florida seniors can preserve their life savings while planning for the future well in advance of when those plans need to be put into action. Start by meeting with a qualified Florida elder law attorney to begin long-term care planning.
2. Know the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid.
Was your mother planning for Medicare to cover the cost of a nursing home? Unfortunately, Medicare usually only covers 100 days of nursing home care. If your mother, as a Florida senior, qualifies for Medicaid, then the Medicaid program in Florida will take over when Medicare benefits are no longer enough. Be aware that Medicaid will cover nursing home costs for qualified Florida seniors for as long as they need it. However, there is a stipulation. Medicaid rules will require Florida seniors to spend down most of their life savings prior to qualifying for the program. Also, Medicaid will look back over the past 5 years and see what assets were held and what the income and expenses were during this time period. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can assist your mother with all this planning.
3. Planning Should Always Be 5 Years Ahead.
To repeat, Florida Medicaid has a look back period of 5 years. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can help your mother plan around this 5-year “lookback” rule to protect your mother’s life savings. Your attorney may decide the best way to do this is to be sure that your mother’s assets are transferred out of her estate prior to the 60 months before she may need nursing home care. Now, if the need for this care is on the horizon, it may be best to start planning early. Your attorney can work with you to determine the best approach for your mother.
Our estate planning law firm takes a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your legacy for the rest of your life. Please contact our office to learn more.