Charging an Estate for Eldercare

1.

Call State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) in your state for guidance from qualified professionals. This federally funded program helps seniors of all financial classes to get the eldercare they need while providing information on protecting or utilizing the estate for eldercare.

2.

Keep all of your appointments with SHIP and their referrals. Bring financial and medical records to all appointments, and keep a written log of contacts and other important information.

3.

Apply for extra help through the state's Medicaid program. If you qualify, Medicaid will pay for eldercare and place a lien on the home to ensure repayment of incurred costs under the estate recovery rules.

4.

Do not take out a loan or sell your estate to pay for eldercare. Most nursing homes take Medicaid, and the state's insurance program will get the eldercare at far lower costs than those that pay for eldercare on their own.

5.

Talk with the family and come to a compromise for eldercare. Be sure family members are aware of the terms and conditions before applying for extra help and accepting those conditions.

6.

Contact a nursing home litigation attorney for unresolved family conflict over the estate. A lawyer will help protect the elder and the family's needs if there is unresolved conflict, but keep in mind that SHIP is a free program that helps with these circumstances and the lawyer's high fees could further the financial burden already incurred on the estate.

7.

Seek alternatives for eldercare to keep costs lower. Try hospice or in-home eldercare instead of choosing an option like a nursing home, and allow a social worker to help coordinate and plan eldercare.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not transfer assets in order to qualify for extra help. There are severe penalties imposed on those who transfer or hide assets when applying for extra help. Medicaid will ask for financial records from the last three to four years in most states.The home is an exempt asset, and Medicaid does not consider it an asset if the elder lives in that home or plans to return home after care. Do not allow salespersons to lure the elder or family into programs that could take advantage of estate values. Do not allow the nursing home to put a lien on the estate.
  • Those who receive care through the state Medicaid's program will have lower costs for care, but after the elder's death the state will need to recoup the cost incurred for eldercare.Laws vary in each state, so be sure to know the eldercare laws in your state before making financial decisions to pay for eldercare.
  • The cost for healthcare is consistently rising. For elders needing healthcare, this could mean having to liquidate the family's estate to pay for care or signing over financial assets to lighten the financial burden. Get the care you need at a fair price, while protecting everyone in the family.