Concerned about your home and savings from being taken by the nursing home or State to pay for nursing home costs? Consider a Personal Care Agreement.
What is a Personal Care Agreement? A Personal Care Agreement is a contract, typically between an elderly parent and a family member, the care provider, to provide supervision and care services to enable the Senior to continue to live in his or her own home for as long as possible rather than being placed in a nursing home, and to fairly compensate the care-provider for such services.
The purpose of a Personal Care Agreement is to enable the elderly person to safely transfer assets, in a legally compliant way, so that instead of a “gift” of assets there is “an exchange” of consideration for fair value. The Senior receives supervision and care services and, in exchange, provides the care-giver with reasonable compensation in the form of equity in the house or payment of money or both.
Key additional benefits to this type of asset protection planning for elderly Seniors are that the planning process provides the Senior with an opportunity to: 1) obtain valuable legal guidance from an experienced elder law attorney and make informed decisions; and 2) if they wish, to bring the children into the planning process and have some input. This approach provides transparency and helps to avoid misunderstanding and family conflict.
Fear of Impoverishment. One of the greatest fears of Seniors is that they will run out of money. Adult children who care about their elderly parents share this concern and often remind their parents to get their legal affairs in order and find out their legal options to protect their home and savings in case they should need to go into a nursing home.
Loss of Inheritance. For some parents, the concern is being unable to leave anything to their children and, for some children, the concern is that they might lose their inheritance and want to know how to protect assets.
Cost of Nursing Home Care. Seniors, and in particularly elderly individuals in need of long-term nursing home care, face monthly nursing home costs and related pharmaceutical and medical supplies costs averaging well over $10,000 a month in Maryland in 2018. Most people cannot afford to pay out this kind of money for long.
Eligibility for Medicaid. Strict rules must be met for before an elderly person who applies for Medicaid to pay for their nursing home costs can become eligible for Medicaid long term care benefits. One must be medically and financially needy. This means, for many, that a significant portion of their assets need to be spent down before becoming eligible for Medicaid benefits.
What if you intend never to go into a nursing home? The reality is that more than one out of two Seniors end up in a nursing home for some period prior to their death. Although most Seniors will do whatever they can to live out their lives at home, and while many children state they will never place their elderly parent in a nursing home, sometimes one has to have the skilled nursing care that only a nursing home can provide.
Asset protection planning is a form of insurance. Do you really want to take the risk that your home and all your assets will be at risk of being applied to pay the nursing home or reimburse the State for your cost of care if you are wrong and do need to spend time in a nursing home?
A comprehensive Elder Law rights & options consultation can really open your eyes and help you to think about things you never you knew needed to be considered. Caring legal guidance from a local Maryland Elder Law lawyer, like Rob Goldman, who has over 30 years of experience, can really help you make an informed decision.
A Personal Care Agreement can be highly effective asset protection strategy that benefits the elderly parents and the care-providing children in a legal, socially responsible way without harm to anyone.
Anything worth protecting is worth investing in sound legal advice and documents you can count on. It doesn’t matter that you are dealing with family or close friends. This is about your financial security and to protect those you most care about. People can forget what was discussed. Expectations may differ. Misunderstanding often occurs. Circumstances change. Motivations change. If you want the protection of the law, agreements involving the transfer of money or property need to be in writing and clearly drafted in order to be enforceable. For example, see Matter of Krajewski v. Zucker (N.Y. Sup. Ct., App. Div. 3d Dept., No 522888, Dec 8, 21016. In this case, the court imposed a Medicaid penalty because their was no clear written agreement to prove that the transfers were made for a legitimate estate planning purpose). Poorly written contracts may not protect you.
Financial Abuse of the elderly is a growing problem. By consulting with a compassionate elder law attorney, you will know you have a lawyer who takes the time to get to know your concerns and needs. Many elderly parents depend on a family member stepping up and taking them to see a lawyer to get their affairs in order and address concerns about potential financial abuse. This is an important part of protecting your economic security because you will have someone you can trust to turn to for the legal guidance you need.
Missed Opportunities to Protect Home and Other Assets. Many Seniors squander opportunities to protect their home and savings by listening to what nursing home representatives, or family or friends tell them instead of seeking competent legal advice from an experienced local Maryland Elder Law attorney. Nursing home representatives protect the nursing home’s interests, not yours. Asset protection planning in the context of Medicaid is highly time-sensitive.
Delay can be costly. If you anticipate a possible need for nursing home care in the foreseeable future, the smart thing to do is find out what you need to know so you can make informed decisions and implement asset protection plans while there is enough time for the plan to work for you. Too many folk wait until it is too late to protect anything. Call Rob Goldman Legal Solutions today to schedule a comprehensive Elder Law rights & options consultation at a law office near you, or if needed, to schedule a home, hospital or nursing home visit. You’ll be glad you did!