In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson, Illinois and Missouri Elder Law attorney, discusses what happens if your loved one has made gifts within the look-back period of applying for Medicaid or VA Benefits.
Gifts Within the Look-Back Period: Consequences and Strategies
Hi, this is Wes Coulson from Dent-Coulson Elder Law, with offices in O’Fallon, Illinois and the Westport area in St. Louis, and this is your Elder Law Minute. Today I want to kind of focus in on a very common question that comes up relative to the look-back period, so it’s five years for Medicaid and now three years for the VA. Here’s the question: Let’s say that your mother has just gone into a nursing home and you know that she has made gifts within those five years, so are you out of luck, are you just going to have to wait it out, or is there something you can do?
Well, the good news answer here is indeed there is something you can do and in this instance when I say you, what I really mean is you and the help of a very competent elder law attorney.
First of all, you assess the penalty. The penalty doesn’t mean that you are disqualified for five years, it means you are disqualified for a period of time. The more that’s been given away, the longer the delay in eligibility. But, sometimes we can do things that involve returns, or partial returns, of gifts or using existing assets to make sure that the person is able to pay for the nursing home during the penalty period caused by gifts that have been made and there’s not a possibility anymore of the money coming back.
I’m trying to present that in an understandable way, it winds up being a pretty complex calculus to do it. But on the other hand, waiting two or three years and paying out of pocket for the nursing home because you thought there wasn’t anything that you could do is going to inevitably produce a much worse and much more expensive result than going to a good elder law attorney to see what can be done to either fix, or at least mitigate, the damage from what was done. Give us a call, we’ll be glad to help on that. Thanks.
For more information about the Look-Back Rule, visit these articles:
- Major Changes to VA Eligibility Rules: Look-Back and Penalties
- Alzheimer’s and the Medicaid Look-Back Rule: Is it Too Late For Planning?
- What is a Look-Back Rule?
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Dent-Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Dent-Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 or (314) 567-9292, or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.