With Greg McIntyre and Hayden Soloway
January 18th 2017
GM: Good morning to all. We are talking about Medicaid Crisis Planning today, Nursing Home Crisis Planning, which is a big deal, oh my gosh.
HS: It’s a really big deal if you are in that situation and all of a sudden you realize all the money is draining out at a rate of $5000 to $10,000 per month.
GM: $5000 to $10,000 per month. That’s a lot of money. We have great nursing homes in the US and in our geographic area, but it costs a lot for nursing home care, and the question is, how are you going to pay for it?
But, why should you care about nursing home care? It’s not going to happen to me or you, right?
HS: Statistically, there is a 70% chance it will.
GM: If the report of 2005 from the US Department of Health and Human services study is accurate, and there is a 70% chance that people over 65 years of age will need some type of long term care, in-home, assisted living, or nursing home care, those are huge numbers. If there was a 70% chance of rain, or snow, or something, you would prepare, you would plan by bringing an umbrella, or rain coat, or something warm, wouldn’t you?
They are only statistics, but when the odds are stacked against you, you don’t gamble, you plan ahead. It’s always better to plan ahead. We have a plan ahead department in our law office, which really helps you get your estate planning in order to protect your hard-earned money and property for the rest of your life. Hopefully, this will be the last legal planning and legal documents you will ever need, but just in case, there needs to be some tweaks. I offer a free update and consult every year with our clients.
This way, we can sit down and discuss any new thing in your life, like you’ve got a new piece of property, or you’ve come into some money, or you sold the house, or you had a Ladybird deed on your house and you sold it, what do you do?
HS: That’s a good point to bring up, because most people think selling their house is a cure all.
GM: Selling the house can create a whole new set of problems.
HS: If you are getting up there in years and decide you want to sell some property, you should talk to Greg before you do it.
GM: Talking about the pros and cons of selling your home, what kinds of problem or opportunity might that create for you? Problems really are great opportunities by the way. Even though you might have a Ladybird Deed on the house that protects the house, you could sell that home and have a couple of hundred thousand on hand, then what are you going to do with that money? How will you protect it in case a long-term care situation comes along, so you don’t lose it all?
The first question I ask when I sit down with a client is, do you have long term care insurance? And I sit down with families all the time who are spending down $5000 or $10,000 like it’s water because a husband or wife has gone into nursing home care. They saved their whole life for retirement and there’s nothing left or there soon won’t be.
HS: They didn’t see the roadblocks.
GM: They didn’t realize that, like my grandfather who I wrote about in my book ‘Saving the Farm’, he never saw that he would lose everything. He was in assisted living for 14 years. The cost of care, in reality, the average person cannot save enough money in their life, not even a couple, to pay for the last few years of their life in a long-term care facility. That machine, that system, will take back everything that they made their entire life.
That’s not right.
HS: People contribute so much in taxes already.
GM: Your taxes paid for that system. North Carolina does have a great thing in allowing Ladybird Deeds to protect your house immediately, which we can draft. It costs a fraction of the worth of the house to put a Ladybird Deed on a house. It protects the property now, and allows you to access a Medicaid benefit for a loved one to pay for assisted living or nursing home care. It’s an amazing thing, it passes it directly outside of probate to a child. It’s like turning your home into a beneficiary asset, it protects it from a Medicaid recovery.
HS: We have done one today for a fellow who lives in Washington State and his mother lives in North Carolina.
GM: That’s right, I worked with his accountant, and attorney, and him on the phone in a 4-way call. This kind of thing is routine for us. We work with other professionals all the time, and make sure everything is right with taxes, and that you step up in bases to make sure there are no capital gains for the kids.
So, in a situation where I have a crying spouse in my office, which happens regularly, the spouse can be healthy, it’s called the ‘Community Spouse’, and can live for many more years, but the unwell spouse is taking down all their retirement savings. I talk to financial planners all the time, you do not want to ride that pile of money or investment into the ground, that’s the wrong thing to do. Make an appointment to talk to your financial planner.
So, let’s say, in the next few years, my wife and my savings are all going to be gone. My money is all falling out the back of a plane right now. It’s going to care for her because she needs some assisted living care, and it’s not going to be a straight down dive into the ground, but it is going to go down quickly over the next few years.
Is that responsible piloting of your money? No, it’s not.
How can it be a smoother flight?
When you talk to your financial planner, they should not be advising you to ride your money into the ground.
At some point, if there is a sickness in the family, if something really goes awry, and the person cannot afford long term care insurance, or couldn’t qualify for it, you have got to call someone like me, an elder law attorney. You should ask, what can I do to save my savings and my house.
How much money can I save if there is a healthier community spouse, and qualify the sick spouse for Medicaid to pay for that care in a nursing home?
SB: It depends on the size of the estate.
GM: Yes, it does. With a married couple, 100% of the estate. If there is a healthy community spouse where we can have the reserve of $119,220 for the healthy spouse, and then pay the rest using a tool like a Medicaid Compliant Annuity, or a Promissary Note, or something like that. And then place a Ladybird deed on the house.
That’s nursing home emergency planning. Let us help you. Don’t just fly the plane into the ground.
HS: There are people now who are involved in the Medicaid spend down.
GM: That’s a hang your head spend down. That’s when you have waited too long, you’re spending all the money.
HS: You just hang your head and give up.
GM: But that’s not how it needs to be. It is our mission to find legal ways, within the rules, to simply help you save your hard earned money and property.
If you are interested in learning more, read my book ‘Saving the Farm’. You can get it on Amazon, or you can come by the office and get a copy. Some of the retail stores in the Shelby, North Carolina area have it also, and there is the audio version on audible.com.
Let me protect your hard earned money and property. I’m Greg McIntyre of McIntyre Elder Law. Call us on 704–259–7040 if you have a long term care crisis, or you want to just plan ahead, or learn about your options.
Contact me if you have any questions. Elder Law is what we do!
Elder Law Attorney
McIntyre Elder Law
123 W. Marion Street
Shelby, NC 28150