As our population ages, more and more of us are confronted with elder law-related issues, whether for ourselves or our parents. Elder law is an aspect of estate planning which focuses on the needs of individuals and their families as they age. Issues of aging include:
- Accessing and paying for quality health care
- Identifying the need for long-term care
- Securing senior housing
- Designating trusted individuals for health care and financial decisions
Many of our clients are specifically concerned with protecting what they have worked and saved for during their lifetimes from being depleted by potential nursing home costs.
An important elder law issue is long-term nursing home care, which is not covered by traditional health insurance. Depending on location and the level of care needed, nursing home care can cost from $35,000 to $150,000 a year, with the average stay being slightly longer than three years. Most people end up paying for nursing home care until their personal (or their family’s) assets are depleted, at which point they may qualify for Wisconsin Medicaid, which will pick up the cost.
If you or an aging parent are concerned about the costs of nursing home care and want to protect your home, farm, cabin, accounts, and other property from being depleted by nursing home costs, you need a Wisconsin estate planning and asset protection lawyer. Our attorneys protect clients in Southern Wisconsin, including Monroe, Monticello, New Glarus, Belleville, Verona, Madison, Brodhead, Janesville, Darlington, South Wayne, Argyle, Blanchardville, and the surrounding areas.
We can protect your assets from nursing home costs and save them for yourself, your spouse, and your children. We recommend and use irrevocable trusts to protect our clients against future nursing home costs. If a family member is facing or is already in a nursing home, we use crisis planning techniques to save assets. In those situations, we also quickly and efficiently guide our clients through the Medicaid application process.
Medicare and Medicaid in Wisconsin
Clients are often confused about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is a federal health insurance program in which most people enroll when they turn 65 years old. Because Medicare is an entitlement program, there are no financial qualification rules.
Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage for those with low income and minimal assets. Medicaid benefits may include basic medical coverage as well as nursing home and assisted living coverage. However, Medicaid has strict financial requirements that must be met in order to qualify.
“Pre-planning” is the term we use to describe our use of irrevocable trusts to protect against future nursing home costs. Pre-planning needs to happen at least five years before you or a family member might need nursing home care. While nursing home pre-planning is preferable, we can also help if it is not possible. “Crisis planning” is the term we use to describe our work if a client or family member is already in a nursing home or will be admitted in the very near future. In both situations, we can restructure your assets to protect them from nursing home costs.
If this planning is not completed and someone qualifies for Medicaid, the Medicaid agency will try to recover benefits after the person dies.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced elder law attorneys at our office serving Monroe, WI, Madison, Green County, and surrounding areas.