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Is Medicaid Planning Legal in Florida?

Is Medicaid Planning Legal in Florida?

An experienced Elder Law Attorney can help you qualify for Medicaid benefits and protect your assets from being depleted to pay for your care. Medicaid Planning is the process of structuring your finances and your assets so that you qualify for long-term care. Medicaid Planning is legal in all 50 states. But that doesn’t mean just anyone can help you with it. That part depends on the type of planning services you’re looking for and just what state you live in.

Florida has specific rules regarding Medicaid, one of which is that only a licensed Elder Law Attorney is allowed to practice Elder Law and Medicaid Planning. It is illegal for anyone else such as a Medicaid counselor or case manager to practice law by engaging in Estate and Medicaid Planning. A Medicaid counselor or planner that is not a licensed attorney but participates in Medicaid planning is actually guilty of a felony. 

There are different strategies when it comes to Medicaid Planning. Trusts are often used to restructure someone’s assets and income so they can qualify for Medicaid. A Trust is a legal relationship in which one person gives another person, known as the Trustee, the right to hold their property or assets for the benefit of another party, the beneficiary. 

3 Useful Medicaid Planning Trusts

Trusts are often used to restructure someone’s assets and income so they can qualify for Medicaid. Three of the most beneficial strategies for Medicaid Planning are a Florida Asset Protection Trust, a Qualified Income Trust and a Ladybird Deed. 

What is a Qualified Income Trust?
A Qualified Income Trust is designed to help those who don’t qualify for Medicaid assistance for long-term care services to amend their income so that they do qualify. If you make too much money each month to qualify for Medicaid you have the option to create a Qualified Income Trust and deposit money each month so that your income stays at or below the financial eligibility limit. 

What is a Florida Asset Protection Trust?
A Florida Asset Protection Trust is designed to protect specific things that you own (your assets) from creditors and lawsuits. This could allow you to receive some Medicaid benefits because it locks some of your assets away so that they cannot be used, thus decreasing your overall income.

What is a Ladybird Deed?
A Ladybird Deed is designed to award your property to a specific person without having to go through the process of probate after you have passed. This makes it much easier for that individual, but it also means that the value of your property doesn’t count against you for Medicaid eligibility.

Two financial tests are used to determine your financial eligibility for Medicaid in Florida, the Medicaid Asset Test and the Medicaid Income Test.

What is the Medicaid Asset Test?
The Medicaid Asset Test looks at all of your resources aside from your earnings. This includes just about everything you own except jewelry, collectible art, retirement accounts, vehicles and potentially your home. Once you’ve listed all your assets, they need to fall below a specific dollar amount or you may be denied Medicaid.

What is the Medicaid Income Test?
Similar to the Asset Test, the Medicaid Income Test looks at the amount of money you have coming in each month (your gross monthly income) and then determines whether you qualify for Medicaid based on your overall income.

If you are concerned about the costs of aging and health care, and are considering Medicaid Planning as part of your financial strategy to afford expensive long-term medical care, an Elder Law Attorney can answer your questions about how to preserve your assets while getting the medical care you or a loved one requires. 

Summary

Many families in South Florida have financial difficulties due to the high costs of long-term care. A Medicaid Planning Attorney has special training and expertise to help people structure their assets so they can qualify for Medicaid financial assistance. Florida laws only permit a licensed Elder Law Attorney to practice Elder Law and Medicaid Planning.

Trusted and Compassionate Florida Medicaid Planning Attorney

Give your family peace of mind and protection. With almost 20 years of Medicaid Planning experience, South Florida Attorney Barry D. Siegel at The Siegel Law Group, P.A., knows firsthand what can happen if you are unprepared for life’s greatest challenges. A knowledgeable Medicaid Planning Lawyer can provide legal guidance to help protect your assets and your future. Call us toll-free at 855-FLA-ESTATE or at 561-955-8515 or schedule a complimentary consultation.

Barry Siegel is the founder and managing partner of The Siegel Law Group, P.A., a Law Firm in Boca Raton, Florida that focuses on comprehensive Estate Planning and Elder Law Planning for clients throughout South Florida. The Siegel legal team is dedicated to providing compassionate counsel and effective legal representation in matters pertaining to Estate Planning, Elder Law, Probate and Trust Administration, Asset Protection Planning, and much more. Subscribe to our newsletter for the most current legal news and updates.

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