Practice Areas

Elder Law & Long-Term Care Planning

The high cost of long-term care has made planning a critically important issue for most older adults and their families. In fact, most older adults will likely require some form of long-term care. Sadly, many of them are unprepared for the significant financial burdens it places on their family. Financial devastation looms large for a family facing ongoing care at a rate of $10,000 or more per month. We know how important it is to hold on to your nest egg and protect it from depletion. Fortunately, proper planning for long-term care expenses can ensure an older adult’s quality of life without exhausting their life’s savings.

Long-Term Care Options

While some older adults are able to afford private pay care, the cost of long-term care will wipe out the savings of all but the wealthiest families in a matter of years. Those who have planned ahead by purchasing long-term care insurance have a degree of certainty and peace of mind, knowing that they have a lesser need to rely on other sources in the future. Unfortunately, many can’t afford the high cost of long-term care insurance or worse, because of age or medical condition cannot qualify for long-term care insurance altogether. If you do have long-term care insurance, you should be aware of what your policy covers. Many policies have high deductibles or provide for only a short period of care in a facility. In fact, many who have long-term care insurance still have to resort to Medi-Cal to pay for their care.

Asset Protection & Medi-Cal Eligibility

The other option to pay for long-term care in California is Medi-Cal (called Medicaid in other states). A joint federal-state program, Medi-Cal provides assistance to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. Medicaid is the single largest payer of nursing home bills in America and serves as the option of last resort for people who have no other way to finance their long-term care. Medicaid eligibility rules vary from state to state, and Caifornia’s current regulations offer attractive planning options to prevent having to spend all of your money and deplete your assets before qualifying for Medi-Cal.

California will soon be adopting new regulations based on the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 which went into effect in other states beginning in 2006. The DRA changes have resulted in complex eligibility requirements for those in need of Medicaid benefits. There are a myriad of regulations involving look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties and waiting periods to plan around. Although currently we are able to use planning strategies in California not available in other states, new draft regulations for adopting the DRA have been promolgated and will be implemented very soon. You should not delay taking advantage of the current planning strategies if you are facing long-term care needs.

The Law Office of Gretchen J. Kenney really cares about helping families avoid the financial ruin associated with the high cost of long-term care. Contact us today at 650-931-2505 to start the process of understanding the issues surrounding obtaining Medi-Cal benefits and to begin the planning and application process.

The Law Office of Gretchen J. Kenney assists clients with Elder Law, including Long-Term Care Planning for Medi-Cal and Veterans’ Pension (Aid & Attendance) Benefits, Estate Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, and Conservatorships in the San Francisco Bay Area.