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Ways You Can Avoid Losing a Life Savings to Pay for Nursing Home Care


Elderly woman and adult daughter

Do you live on your own in the Sunshine State of Florida? Are you enjoying good health and an active life? Have you started thinking about your future and wondering what would happen if you were not as healthy or active? Or what would happen if you had an accident, surgery or a diagnosis of a debilitating disease? Who would make healthcare decisions for you if you were unable or financial decisions, like paying your bills and being sure your accounts are well managed. Could there be the possibility of you losing your life savings to care for yourself either through at home care or in a nursing home? With all these questions, the first thing you should do is make sure you have a Florida estate plan and know that it is up-to-date. However, if you do not have a Florida estate plan it is highly recommended that you meet with a qualified and experienced Florida estate planning and elder law attorney. In this meeting you also need to discuss all of your concerns about your future. Your Florida estate planning and elder law attorney will know all the important documents you need in your estate plan to protect you both now and in the future. Your attorney will also know the costs of nursing home care and can advise you in regard to protecting your lifetime of savings from being completely used up by the cost of care, either in a nursing home or at home. In our law firm we address both estate planning and elder law. We want to prepare Florida seniors for both now and the future. We would like to share and discuss four ways to prevent you and other aging Florida seniors from losing your life savings to a nursing home. 1. You need to begin your planning now. Again, we cannot stress enough the need to start by meeting with a qualified Florida estate planning and elder law attorney to create your Florida estate plan and to begin long-term care planning. By planning now you can protect your savings and plan for the future before those plans need to be put into action. 2. You need to begin the creation of a comprehensive Florida estate plan now. You know the saying, “the best offense is a good defense" and nowhere does this hold more true than when it comes to having a Florida estate plan in place. Sadly, many people do not complete an estate plan when they are able to and, by the time they know they need one, it is too late. We encourage you to talk to us about the Florida estate planning you need and how it can help support you with your goals for long-term care. 3. You need to know the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Were you planning for Medicare to cover the cost of a nursing home if you ever needed one? Unfortunately, Medicare usually only covers 100 days of nursing home care. If you, as a Florida senior, qualify for Medicaid, then the Medicaid program in Florida will take over when Medicare benefits are no longer enough. Be aware that Medicaid will cover nursing home costs for qualified Florida seniors for as long as they need it. However, there is a stipulation. Medicaid rules will require Florida seniors to spend down most of their life savings prior to qualifying for the program. Also, Medicaid will look back over the past 5 years and see what was held in assets, and what the income and expenses were during this time period. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can assist you with all this planning. 4. You need to be aware that planning should be 5 years ahead. As stated in number 3, Florida Medicaid has a look back period of 5 years. A qualified Florida elder law attorney can help you plan around this 5-year “lookback” rule to protect your life savings. Your attorney may decide the best way to do this is to be sure that your assets are transferred out of her estate prior to the 60 months before she may need nursing home care. Now, if the need for this care is on the horizon, it may be best to start planning early. Your attorney can work with you to determine the best approach. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Contacting a Florida attorney and then trusting them to work for you can be overwhelming and stressful. We are dedicated to YOU – getting to know you, your situation, and your needs. Simultaneously, we want you to understand that we view each client as an individual who is entitled to the best representation possible. Being a lawyer is a responsibility and a privilege that we don’t take lightly. When you choose The Demosthenous Law Firm you can rest assured that you have an exceptional legal team in your corner, fighting diligently for your rights and best interests. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and experience the difference that our unparalleled legal representation can make in your life.

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