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Best Laid Plans …

I was recently consulted on a case involving a medicaid applicant under a special state Medicaid waiver program that would pay around $950 per month toward assisted living expenses.  The applicant had no money, and her only other asset was her house, which is an exempt asset under Medicaid.  As a result, the applicant qualified immediately for benefits. The applicant's plan was to sell the house to make up the difference between the assisted living rent and Medicaid's contribution, but the applicant refused to hire or even listen to a qualified professional to design her plan. Instead, she saved legal fees equal to about a month's rent in the assisted living facility, and did it herself.  Her plan was to privately pay the difference between what Medicaid paid using sale proceeds.  What she did not plan on was the fact that the sale proceeds from her house are not exempt the month after the sale, and once she sold the house, she became ineligible for all Medicaid benefits.  She must privately pay for her care, without Medicaid assistance, until she spends all of her funds. Essentially by saving around $3,500 in legal fees, she is loosing around $30,000 in benefits, and will probably run out of money to live in assisted living in 1 year, whereas with the continued assistance, she could have stayed there for 3 years.  That's some savings, but sadly that is typically the result when people try to plan themselves. Medicaid planning is complicated and risky. If you are serious about saving assets and ensuring quality of life, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to seek professional guidance.  The money you spend will be returned many times over in the assets saved, peace of mind, and improved care.  

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