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Protecting Assets From Medi-Cal

Proper elder law Medi-Cal planning is having all assets held in a decedent’s revocable living trust to avoid both probate and Medi-Cal recovery. It is very important to plan for your loved ones by having a revocable living trust.

A past technique for elder law Medi-Cal planning was utilizing a Medi-Cal Asset Protection Trust to hold assets, typically a home and bank accounts separate from an individual’s personal assets. Doing this will help the person qualify for Medi-Cal long term care benefits. Having this irrevocable Medi-Cal Asset Protection Trust would prevent the State of California from Medi-Cal Estate Recovery.

One way of sheltering assets from Medi-Cal, for those who have died after January 1, 2017, was to make sure the assets were held in a living trust to be immune from recovery. There were some changes to estate recovery on January 1, 2017 due to legislation SB 833, which the changes are highlighted here.

Assets that would not typically require a probate and which will avoid Medi-Cal recovery, include the assets held in a revocable living trust and those assets held in joint tenancy. Creating a will alone will not help in protecting assets from Medi-Cal for either probate or Medi-Cal estate recovery.

Proactive Planning Can Shelter Assets from Medi-Cal

If you are serious about protecting assets from Medi-Cal then create a revocable trust to eliminate claims against your assets by the state for Medi-Cal reimbursement. Also consult with Alice Salvo, a Woodland Hills elder law attorney, for proper guidance on elder law Medi-Cal planning. Qualifying for Medi-Cal long term care in a nursing home is complicated and an elder law Medi-Cal planning attorney can advise as to what is required and prepare of all related documents.

When concerned about protecting assets from Medi-Cal the question arises “Can the state put a lien on my home?”

Liens are placed on living Medi-Cal beneficiaries’ estates to hold the property until the person dies. Beginning January 1, 1996, California does not impose liens against the homes of nursing home residents or their surviving spouses. There is an exception for cases where the home is not exempt such as when the nursing home Medi-Cal applicant did not indicate an intention to return home and the home will be sold. Currently these are the only liens which may be put on the homes of living beneficiaries.

Five Steps to a Comprehensive Plan for Sheltering Assets from Medi-Cal

  1. Pre-Planning for Medi-Cal Eligibility and Protecting assets from Medi-Cal Estate Recovery This step involves creating an estate plan before requiring long-term care. It contains comprehensive Medi-Cal Asset Protection sections which, even if you can no longer sign legal documents, all legal steps can be taken to protect you, those you love, and your assets, should you require long-term care.
  2. Eligibility Planning An important step to structure your assets so that you become eligible to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits for long-term care.
  3. Income Planning A step which will reduce or eliminate a Medi-Cal beneficiary’s monthly share of cost co-payment.
  4. Medi-Cal Recovery Planning This step reduces or eliminates Medi-Cal recovery against the Medi-Cal beneficiary’s estate.It prevents the government from collecting against your primary residence or other assets.
  5. Preparation of the Medi-Cal application forms We communicate directly with Medi-Cal on your behalf for the application process.

Expert Elder Law Medi-Cal Planning Guidance

Protecting assets from Medi-Cal Estate Recovery can be challenging and at times there is more than one strategy. We discuss each along with the benefits allowing you to make an informed decision.

Our experienced Woodland Hills, CA elder law attorney will carefully review your assets, income and estate planning documents and then develop a strategy for an effective Medi-Cal plan tailored to your specific situation. This can be quite the emotional undertaking and our strategy is to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible. Get started with a call to us at 818-676-9572 or use our contact form to schedule a consultation.