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The State is Looking for Ways to Limit its Medicaid Expenditures

It's not easy protecting your own and your loved one's assets. In fact, the process can be overwhelming and often a frightening responsibility. Chances are you already know something about the benefits of transferring assets for Medicaid eligibility. And you may also know the consequences that follow if you don't do it correctly.

But does anyone tell you when the rules change?

Since the state of Connecticut partially funds the Medicaid program and 70% of nursing home residents in Connecticut are on Medicaid, there is a tremendous burden on the state treasury.

What does this mean for you?

It means that the state is looking for ways to limit its Medicaid expenditures. It means that the stakes are high and that you really must be judicious about the estate planning moves you make.

Recently we've discovered that the State of CT, through its Department of Social Services (DSS), is staking out new territory in asserting penalties on certain transfers for married individuals. If you're not on top of it, the results could be devastating.

We've recently seen this in action. A husband designated his children, rather than his wife, as beneficiaries on a variety of assets. Upon his death, these assets passed outside of probate because the assets immediately vested in the children and were not governed by the husband's will. Years later, the wife entered a nursing home and applied for Medicaid because her money ran out.

Here's the rub: DSS took the position that when the husband died and some of his assets passed to the children, that those assets were an improper transfer with the intentions of qualifying the wife for Medicaid. DSS imposed asset transfer penalties against her and denied her application. The wife was left with no source of payment for her care and placed her ability to obtain needed health care at risk.

How do you protect yourself from the complexities of and changes in Medicaid eligibility? For starters, it might not be a good idea to fully exclude a spouse from your assets. Be safe. Get counsel on how to best plan for you and your loved ones' later years.

Give us a call. We'll make sure you and your family is protected.

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