Long-term care provides medical and other essential support for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses and those who can no longer care for themselves. Planning for necessary long-term care can help us preserve our loved ones’ quality of life. This might mean hiring an in-home caregiver or moving your family member to an assisted living facility or nursing home.
When you work with an attorney to organize your assets and make your final wishes known, be sure to also discuss long-term care planning in Tustin. Our estate planning attorneys could help you understand your options and ensure your wishes for your future are laid out.
Options for Long-Term Care
Assisted living facilities in California offer homelike settings. In many cases, a resident or couple may lease their own apartment and use their own cars. Community meals, activities, and other homelike amenities benefit residents who need some oversight but not a great deal of medical care. California assisted living residents usually pay more than the national average.
Nursing homes are clinical settings where residents need more medical supervision and have less independence. While assisted living facilities employ nurses and other caregivers, nursing homes also employ physicians to monitor and administer patient care.
Paying for Long-Term Care
Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Some insurance companies offer policies that pay for services such as in-home providers, assisted living, and nursing home facilities. Care facilities will often expect prospective residents to sell their assets or exhaust their savings to pay for care.
The most common way to pay for care is by enrolling in Medicaid/Medi-Cal. To qualify for the government’s Medicare program, a person’s assets and income must fall below a certain threshold. However, there are legal ways to qualify for Medicaid with a net worth that is currently above the threshold.
Although Medicaid is a federal program, each state administers benefits to its residents individually. When someone needs to qualify for Medicaid for assistance paying for long-term care, they face scrutiny of their assets and finances under a mandatory five-year “look-back.” This ensures they have not transferred assets for the sole purpose of qualifying for Medicaid. Some transfers are exempt, and a Tustin attorney who understands long-term care planning could help you understand which is right for your needs. Exempt transfers include:
- Transfers to a spouse or a trust that benefits the spouse
- Transfers to a disabled child or a trust that benefits the child
- Transfer of the family home to a child younger than 21 or to a child who has lived in the home two years or more to care for parents before they enter a nursing home or assisted living facility
- Transfer to a trust whose sole beneficiary is a disabled person younger than 65
An irrevocable trust is another option, because asset ownership transfers to the trust, allowing the potential Medicaid recipient to qualify for benefits.
An Attorney Could Help with Long-Term Care Planning in Tustin
The older you get, the more likely it is that you will need some form of long-term care. It is best to plan now for how you will pay for it.
You could spend your savings and sell your assets to fund an assisted living facility or nursing home, but you could also provide for loved ones through legal transfers and trusts that will allow you to qualify for Medicaid in California. This is a complicated process, so working with a seasoned attorney is wise. Now is the time to contact a lawyer who could help with long-term care planning in Tustin.