Careful planning can help secure Medicaid for long-term care

Planning for the future requires protecting assets and securing access to the available healthcare options. Estate planning with Medicaid and long-term care in mind provides peace of mind.

It helps people preserve their wealth while meeting Medicaid’s eligibility requirements.

Why long-term care planning matters

Long-term care is necessary for people who need extended assistance due to aging or disability. However, nursing homes and home health services can quickly drain one’s savings due to their high costs. Estate planning ensures individuals are prepared for these expenses and can protect their assets, helping to minimize financial strain.

Understanding Medicaid eligibility

Medicaid offers health coverage for low-income people, including long-term care support. It has strict rules that limit eligibility to those with minimal income and assets. People should carefully organize their estate to qualify for assistance without sacrificing financial security.

Key estate planning strategies

Key estate planning strategies include several methods that can help protect assets while securing Medicaid eligibility

  • Gifting assets: One approach involves gifting assets to family members ahead of time. Medicaid has a five-year “look-back” period, meaning any transfers made within five years of applying for Medicaid could lead to penalties. Proper timing of gifts can maximize benefits while complying with the rules.
  • Irrevocable trusts: An irrevocable trust protects assets while allowing Medicaid eligibility. It transfers ownership of assets to the trust itself, meaning the government will not count them when checking eligibility.
  • Medicaid-compliant annuities: Annuities provide steady income for a healthy spouse, helping them avoid financial hardship due to their partner’s medical expenses. To qualify, Medicaid-compliant annuities must follow strict guidelines.

In Illinois, there is no right of spousal refusal. If a healthy spouse does not disclose available resources, they may be denied Medicaid for their partner needing long-term care.

Seeking assistance

Estate planning with Medicaid and long-term care in mind requires guidance from financial advisors, elder law attorneys and Medicaid specialists. These professionals can help people navigate regulations and build strong strategies to reduce financial burdens.

Planning for the future requires taking action to secure assets and health needs now. Estate planning with Medicaid and long-term care in mind ensures eligibility for key assistance programs while providing security for one’s family.


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The Law Office of William C. Wombacher

Local: 309-674-8125
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Peoria, IL 61602
NELF | National Elder Law Foundation
CAP | Council of Advanced Practitioners | NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Illinois State Bar Association