Senior Citizen's Guide to Metro Detroit - page 12

Say You Saw It in the Senior Citizen’s Guide to Metro Detroit
involvement when we are planning for asset protection to
meet the cost of long-term care. A power of attorney for
general estate planning will look different than one drafted
by an experienced elder law attorney; it will often contain
more extraordinary powers, which help minimize future
probate court involvement.
Paying caregivers without a contract.
Often families
will privately pay for caregivers, including family members,
in an effort to stave off placement in a facility. The method
of payment is often informal, by cash or check, and
without documentation in support of the services.
However, if one is being paid it must be done with
proper documentation in support of the services being
performed and at what rate of payment. Payments for
caregiving are given a high degree of scrutiny by the state
Medicaid agency, particularly if a family member provides
the care. An experienced elder law attorney can help
create a proper framework, documentation and support
necessary to prevent a penalty from being assessed in
anticipation of the need for Medicaid benefits.
Gifting assets.
A gift is any transfer of property to
someone else. This includes adding someone as a joint
owner on real estate, and selling property for less than it
is actually worth. All such transfers that take place within
60 months of an application for Medicaid assistance must
be disclosed. It is strongly recommended that any gifts
should be done with the guidance of an experienced elder
law attorney to understand the options and consequences
of such a transfer.
An experienced elder law attorney can assess the current
needs of an individual, address the concerns the individual
and the family has about authority and control, and review
planning options. The attorney, together with the family,
creates a sustainable plan to allow for the maximum vitality
of life for their loved one.
Editorial provided by Michele P. Fuller, Michigan Law Center.
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