ESTATE PLANNING - Independence Plan
Do you want to have more say in your future? Then it's time to develop an independence plan. A written plan will help you identify the kind of support and care you want if and when you can no longer do everything for yourself.
No one likes to think of needing assistance to get around or of living in a nursing home. But at a certain age, our normal aches and pains start to worry us. We start to wonder how long we will maintain the vibrant, healthy lifestyle we enjoy.
Developing an independence plan now, before you need support, will help you feel in charge and take some of the anxiety away.
Some questions to ask yourself to get started on a Plan:
Who can make medical decisions on my behalf if I am unable to?
Who can make financial decisions on my behalf?
What financial plan do I need to hire assistance if I need it?
How can I hire my own staff to help me in my home?
If I need a long term care facility, can I afford it?
How do I qualify for Medicaid if my finances run out?
Private Pay versus Medicaid: Will Medicaid be part of my Plan?
Unless we are very rich, we will not be able to afford long term care for an extended period of time. It is important to be informed about Medicaid eligibility and regulations.
Facts about Medicaid
- The average monthly cost of a nursing home in the state of Michigan is $8,084.
- A person can only have a certain amount of assets to become eligible for Medicaid.
- Rules are different for married couples than for single people for eligibility.
- Divestment means any transfer of property out of your name to someone else for less than fair market value.
- Medicaid’s “look back” period is 5 years right now. That means Medicaid looks back at any gifts or transfers of money or property you have made prior to determining your eligibility for Medicaid. If you made a transaction that is considered a divestment within 5 years of Medicaid eligibility, you will have a penalty. You will be required to pay privately within the penalty period.
- The formula for the penalty period is the value of divestment/8,084= months of private pay.
- What you do 5 years within the date of your Medicaid eligibility can affect how long you have to pay out of your own pocket even if you have absolutely no money when you become Medicaid eligible.
- The best plans are made before the need arises. You can take weeks or months to work out the details and cover everything from listing your assets, to determining your heirs, to making it clear whether you want to stay in your own home with private assistance as long as possible or move into an assisted living setting that you prefer.
- An independence plan helps you, and those who support you, know what kind of care and assistance you want to receive and how you are going to pay for it. Consider it your back-up plan.