Asset protection is one of the core objectives in estate planning—and long-term care expenses pose one of the primary threats to your assets. The cost of long-term care in the United States is almost unimaginably high. According to data published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the average national cost of a private room in a nursing home is nearly $93,000 per year.
The good news is that there are programs available to help alleviate the costs. That being said, the primary program for long-term care coverage—Medicaid—has very strict asset tests. You need to start planning now to preserve your eligibility. Below, our Cortland estate planning attorney offers a more detailed overview of what you should know about long-term care and asset protection.
What to Know About Long-Term Care and Medicaid Eligibility in Ohio
Medicaid covers long-term care costs for vulnerable people—but only as a so-called “payor of last resort.” In other words, the U.S. government essentially expects people to deplete their own personal assets to cover their long-term care costs before Medicaid will step in. If someone has more than a few thousand dollars in liquid assets, they will generally not qualify for Medicaid’s long-term care coverage until those assets have been used up.
Note: It is important to emphasize that there are exceptions. Most notably, a primary residence may be exempt from the long-term care asset test.
A Proactive Approach Will Help to Protect You From Long-Term Care Expenses
All families should be fully prepared for their long-term care needs. You never know in advance exactly how much long-term care will be necessary. For some people, little to no long-term care is required in their final days. For others, they may need several years of ongoing support. There are estate planning and asset protection strategies that you can implement now to help protect your hard-earned life savings from long-term care costs. Among other things, you may benefit from:
- Purchasing private long-term care insurance coverage
- The establishment of an irrevocable living trust
- Early gifting of certain money/property
- The forming of a life estate
As Medicaid uses a 60-month look-back period when determining eligibility for long-term care coverage, it is highly recommended that you begin asset planning as early as possible. You will be in a better position to protect your money and your property if you plan for your future well before long-term care services are needed.
Get Estate Planning Help in Northeast Ohio
At The Law Office of John C. Grundy, our Ohio estate planning lawyer has deep experience helping people and families protect and preserve their assets. If you have any questions about protecting your assets from long-term care expenses, we are here to help. Contact us now for a confidential consultation. From our Cortland legal office, we provide long-term care planning services throughout Northeast Ohio, including in Youngstown, Howland Center, Champion Heights, Bristolville, and Johnston.