In this Elder Law Minute, Kaye DeSelms Dent debunks the common myth that it’s illegal to give away assets right before putting a loved one in a nursing home.
Hi, I’m Kaye DeSelms Dent with Dent Coulson Elder Law, here with an Elder Law Minute for you. These videos are intended to educate you about the elder care journey, which begins earlier in life than you might think. We hope that you find them useful, and if you have further questions, please call us at Dent Coulson Elder Law.
Today, I’m going to talk about something you may have heard about, which is the Medicaid five year look back period. It’s not uncommon for us to get phone calls from people who say, “well, I’ve heard it’s illegal to give anything away right before I make an application for Medicaid, for a nursing home, or other long-term care services.” Not exactly.
If you transfer any assets for less than what they’re worth, it’s a gift. You’ve made at least a partial gift. If you do that in the five years before you apply for long-term care services through Medicaid, you’ll be penalized. It’s not illegal, the penalty isn’t some sort of fine, it’s simply dollar for dollar, the state says, you have to pay for some care before we will. And, believe it or not, we can actually use this penalty to your advantage in preserving assets in some cases.
Remember that it’s not illegal to make those gifts, there’s just a penalty and here at Dent Coulson Elder Law we can help explain that to you in more detail. We can help you develop a plan to use gifting to your advantage to preserve assets, and, also keep in mind, that the short Elder Law Minute videos are not do it yourself projects, they’re simply educational videos to help dispel some myths that are out there about the things that elder law attorneys can help with, and if you have further questions, or a need to deal with a topic like this, please give us a call.
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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 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.