DON’T “SPEND DOWN” FOR MEDICAID!

When people come to us for advice on how to qualify for Medicaid to pay for their nursing home cost, we hear this phrase “Spend Down” all the time.  Many people who have researched Medicaid benefits for long term care have heard that they should “Spend Down” their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.  In this article I will explain why this could be the worst advice a client could follow—and yet most financial planners, social workers, Medicaid Consultants, and even lawyers still read more

DOES A LIFE ESTATE STILL WORK FOR MEDICAID? (June 2015)

DOES A LIFE ESTATE STILL WORK FOR MEDICAID?

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Back in March, April, and May of 2010, my father wrote a three-part series for the Hawaii Herald called “Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens.”  It explained that the best way to protect your home is to keep a life estate and give the remainder (or future ownership) away to an irrevocable trust, drafted by a lawyer who specializes in read more

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GIFTING YOUR ASSETS

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            Most of my clients have heard that you can give away $10,000 per year to any other person without consequences.  That’s not exactly correct.  Some have heard that you should consider giving away your assets to your children or other loved ones 5 years before you might need to go to a nursing home.  Therefore, many of them believe that you should start giving $10,000 per year to each of your children and grandchildren or other loved ones. read more

2015 ESTATE PLANNING UPDATE

Here is a 2015 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

At the end of 2012, Congress passed a law making the exemption from estate taxes $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) without a built in expiration date. Taking into account inflation, the actual amount exempt from estate tax for 2015 is $5,430,000. The Hawaii Estate Tax law was previously amended to follow the Federal read more

2014 Estate Planning Update (February 2014)

Here is a 2014 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

A little over one year ago, Congress passed a law  making the exemption from estate taxes $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) without a built in expiration date. Taking into account inflation, the actual amount exempt from estate tax for 2014 is $5,340,000. The Hawaii Estate Tax law was amended to follow the Federal read more

Creative Medicaid Spend Down Techniques (May 2013)

As you are probably well aware, my father, Sanford K. Okura, and I have both written extensively on qualifying for Medicaid to pay for long term care costs while protecting your assets from nursing home costs.  Our law practice focuses on this problem as a key specialty within estate planning and elder law. Most people think that they have to spend all their money on their care–down to $2,000–before they can get qualified for Medicaid to pay read more

2012 Estate Planning Update (January 2012)

Here is a 2012 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

Under a temporary federal law, $5,000,000 is tax free this year. From January 1, 2013, only $1,000,000 will be tax free.  There is a bill in Congress, introduced on November 17, 2011, called the “Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011,” which proposes to reduce the exemption to $1,000,000 immediately. You can track this read more

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens – Part 3 (May 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS (PART 3)

Last month and the month before, I explained how to protect your home from Medicaid liens.  In my April column, I described how a parent can transfer the family residence to the children, and keep a “life estate.”

The life estate allows the parent to continue to live in the home for life.  If the parent goes into a nursing home and receives Medicaid help, the government can still put a Medicaid lien on the property.  The lien is like read more

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens – Part 2 (April 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS (PART 2)

Last month we discussed the dangers of having the government put a Medicaid lien on your home and property if you end up in a nursing home.  Remember, a “revocable living trust” cannot protect your home from nursing home costs.

Some senior citizens who are worried about Medicaid liens just give the house to the children.  I do not think this is wise.  There are many cases in which the parents gave the home to the children, then the children read more

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens (March 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS

More and more senior citizens are becoming concerned about nursing home costs.  No one really wants to go to a nursing home.  Nearly every elderly person would prefer to stay at home.  However, no matter how much children love their parents, caring for an elderly parent at home can be so stressful that a stay in a nursing home often becomes necessary.  A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey in 2003 found that if you are 65 years of age or older, there is a 45% read more