Jan Neal Law Firm LLC

Alabama Elder and Special Needs Law

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Planning For Long-Term Care

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Planning for long-term care is critical for seniors and families with aging relatives.  Financial options are limited, and without proper planning placement can be cost prohibitive.  It is better to get advice earlier than later because earlier planning permits the use of more options and fewer headaches.  Waiting until a placement is imminent makes it much harder for all persons involved.

It is particularly important to get advice if your aging relative has a reverse mortgage on his or her property to determine how to handle repayment in connection with a Medicaid application.  Unwittingly, relatives make arrangements with the mortgage company and later run into serious problems with Medicaid’s interpretation of disposal of the property.  Remember that every $5700 worth of uncompensated value transferred within five years of application will result in a month of Medicaid ineligibility.

I tell people routinely that if you feel turned inside out when you complete a Medicaid application…well, that’s normal!  While it can be unpleasant and time consuming, the process can be manageable when you know what Medicaid expects of you.

Put on your drawingboard a call to us to discuss your options and to get your loved one’s affairs in order before it becomes an emergency.

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Medicaid Estate Recovery

The Alabama Medicaid Agency is required to recoup funds it spends paying for health care for certain eligible individuals after those service recipients die.  Those Medicaid recipients are:

  • people who die in nursing facilities, intermediate care facilities for people with intellectual disabilities or other medical institutions;
  • persons who were 55 years of age or older when medical services were covered by Medicaid; and
  • persons who had a special needs trust.

If any assets (real or personal property, bank funds, vehicles, cash, etc.) remain in the estate of those Medicaid service recipients, the agency will try to recover an amount of money up to what it spent for care.

When estate recovery is initiated by Medicaid, a letter is sent to family members from the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program Recovery Unit in Irving, Texas.  A questionnaire is provided to determine what the individual owned at the time of death.  While the questionnaire may appear to be straightforward, care in completing is advised.  Challenges to estate recovery may exist based on what is in the probate estate and whether the family qualifies for an undue hardship.  Estate recovery may be delayed based on the status of the surviving family members.   Legal advice is recommended to assure that family members know their rights.