One of the things most surprising to our elder law clients is the realization that the government agencies that regulate Nursing Home Benefits for the Elderly are not in it to help. Indeed, they are required to be courteous and they are trained about what constitutes the “right thing to do” but they actually exist to deny people access to benefits if at all legally possible. In so doing, they are required to follow the regulations that govern how they do their jobs and those regulations exist to make it hard to get benefits.
Many, many people come to see us after having spent months or years trying to avoid the nursing home environment. In the course of doing so, they have often moved properties, bought and sold things, re-titled things, and taken many other actions that make common sense, or even are encouraged by gift tax laws, but which actually create a land mine for the time when nursing home care arrives.
There is an incredibly important distinction between estate planning and elder law planning. The difference can be summed up in one phrase, Death is not simply the inevitable end point, it the most costly process from which very few can escape. Estate planners are wonderful at helping people to maximize growth, increase income, reduce or avoid taxation, and dispose of properties after death. Elder law attorneys are good at making sure you have something left to dispose of after the process of dying has begun.
It is very unwise to follow common sense in setting up arrangements for an elderly person who is declining and whose needs are changing. Doing the “right thing” in your book could be exactly the thing that allows the government to deny benefits in their book.
This article is written by an attorney at Attorney Donald Wyatt PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today, please click here to contact us.