written by: Randy Clinkscales of Clinkscales Elder Law Practice
A few years ago I had a family come see me. They did not have a terribly unusual situation, but had some good goals in mind. I had a good but complicated plan outlined for them. At the end of the meeting, I had the feeling that they were just “fishing” for information.
Long term planning, and especially trying to qualify for Medicaid, is very involved. The rules are foreign. Many times I tell clients that there are several different kinds “laws”: the Constitution; federal laws; state laws; regulations; and IRS laws. And then there is Medicaid.
To say Medicaid is difficult is an understatement. Many of the “rules” of Medicaid are not actually rules at all; many times they are internal policies that end up acting with the force of a rule or a law.
Many of my clients come from a background of self-sufficiency. As an office we stress to our clients the need to spend money to take care of themselves now, both from a healthcare standpoint and from a planning standpoint. Sometimes they decide to do it on their own.
Back to the family that came to see me a few years ago. While their goal was to protect the land and home, they decided to try to do it on their own. They ended up applying for Medicaid, only to be denied and now owe the nursing home almost $100,000, with an eviction notice being served on them. Their only recourse is to start selling the home and farm. And when they do, particularly as to the farm, they are going to end up paying taxes.
It is particularly frustrating to me. I designed a plan for the family that would have helped them avoid being in such as difficult situation. Their loved one that is in the nursing home now has the added pressure of a possible eviction.
I know there are too many traps out there. Do not waste an opportunity to find help. Do not try to do it on your own.
Randy Clinkscales of Clinkscales Elder Law Practice, PA, Hays, Kansas, is an elder care attorney, practicing in western Kansas. To contact him, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Disclaimer: The information in the column is for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Each case is different and outcomes depend on the fact of each case and the then applicable law. For specific questions, you should contact a qualified attorney.