Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | What is a "But For" Letter?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Dec 24, 2012

We talked last week about MassHealth’s transfer penalty, but what exactly is a “but for” letter?  As I explained , the MassHealth penalty doesn’t start when the transfer of assets is made, but only after the other requirements are met, meaning the application is filed and all MassHealth, attorney, elder lawthe other MassHealth requirements are met.   A “but for” letter is the written communication from MassHealth stating that but for the transfer penalty you would have been eligible to receive benefits.  It tells you exactly when the penalty starts and how long it will be.  The State will not pay for your care during the time frame of the penalty.  You’ll need to find other means to pay for the care.

Click here to get a free sneak preview of the “Senior and Boomer’s Guide to Health Care Reform & Avoiding Nursing Home Poverty”, which contains information on how Massachusetts Seniors and Boomers will be impacted by the Affordable Care Act!

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

describe the imageWe encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: MassHealth, Massachusetts, caregiver, Elder Law, Attorney, health, legal, home, but for, letter

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | When Does MassHealth's Penalty Start?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Fri, Dec 21, 2012

When Does MassHealth's Penalty Start?

Massachusetts determines that the MassHealth penalty begins when the applicant is below $2000, is in need of nursing home level care and applies for MassHealth, that is to say, the applicant is otherwise eligible for MassHealth “but for” the transfer of assets.Masshealth, Massachusetts, elder law

For example, if one transferred $140,000 without receiving anything of equal monetary value in return, within the five years immediately preceding the MassHealth application, the transfer penalty is 18 months.  The penalty does not begin until the applicant applies for MassHealth and meets all other qualifications “but for” the transfer of assets.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We developed our Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide, so you can learn where problems may exist in your planning as well as opportunities for improvement and how to implement a plan to protect your spouse, home, family, and life savings. 

Click Here to Download our Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection  Legal Guide

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: MassHealth, Massachusetts, Elder Law, Attorney, penalty, legal

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Does MassHealth Permit a Family Member to be Paid to Provide Care?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Dec 20, 2012

We tell our elder law clients that family members are allowed to receive payment for their duties as caregivers.   Family members who wish to be paid as caregivers should be conservative when determining a fee.  Fees should be less than or equal to the current fair market value of an outside aide service.  Also, family caregivers must be realistic when determining the amount of hours worked.  For example, if the family member holds a full time job, he or she may not charge for care given while at work in their full time employment.MassHealth, elder law, Massachusetts  Family members may not be paid in advance (in a lump sum) nor may they be hired retroactively for services already provided.  If there is no family caregiver agreement in place, the family member may not be paid for past services.  MassHealth presumes that the care was provided by the child “out of love” with no expectation of financial compensation.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: MassHealth, Massachusetts, caregiver, Elder Law, Attorney, health, legal, aide, home

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Can Paying for Home Health Aides Cause a MassHealth Penalty? (Part 2)

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Wed, Dec 19, 2012

Can Paying for Home Health Aides Cause a MassHealth Penalty? (Part 2)

There are two components to properly paying a home health aide hired without the assistance of an agency:

1. Enter into a Caregiver Agreement with the aide – this agreement lays out the duties of the aide and the rate.  In short, it provides New Jersey MassHealth  with a record that an individual was hired to care for the eventual applicant and that the money withdrawn from the applicant’s account was used in return for a service (i.e.; transferred for value).  Some aides may be hesitant to sign due to their fear of the IRS or INS (immigration).  We explain to our elder law clients that the purpose of this agreement is to document payment for services forMassHealth, Medicaid an eventual MassHealth  filing, not to report the aide to a government authority.  This, of course, does not excuse the applicant and the aide from reporting income.  We do not provide advice on IRS and INS reporting rules, nor do we offer any guarantees that MassHealth  will not communicate with other government entities, however, we do tell clients that, to our knowledge,it has never happened and is not likely given how expansive “the government” is. 

2. Maintain receipts – simply buy a book of receipts from an office supply store.  Have the aide sign a receipt each time he/she is paid noting the dates of services for which payment is being made and the services performed

It should be noted that hiring a home health agency is never a problem for MassHealth.  The contract with the agency is proof of the services provided and payments are made to the agency, not to the aide.  A red flag for MassHealth  are checks made payable to an individual.  When they see checks to “Jenny Smith” they assume it is a gift to Jenny, who, they presume, is a family member.  You know that Jenny has been working for years taking care of Mom, but remember that MassHealth  doesn’t know that, and again, a verbal statement, unsupported by supporting documentation, will not be enough.

To gain free online access to the Complete Alzheimer's Resource Kit, which contains care tips as well as other useful information on Alzheimer’s disease, please visit www.BostonMemoryLawyer.com

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

 

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: MassHealth, Massachusetts, caregiver, Elder Law, Attorney, health, legal, aide, home

Massachusetts Elder Law Attorney | Can Paying for Home Health Aides Cause a MassHealth Penalty? (Part 1)

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Tue, Dec 18, 2012

Can Paying for Home Health Aides Cause a MassHealth Penalty? (Part 1)

Paying private home aides “under the table” in the years immediately preceding a MassHealth  application is a common trap for the unwary.  Without proper documentation, Massachusetts will inquire about the weekly ATM withdrawals, checks written to “cash”, or checks written to a MassHealth, elder law, attorneyperson unknown to the case worker. The burden is on the MassHealth  applicant to prove that these transfers are for fair value.  Even though your aide is “like family” or “completely trustworthy” does not excuse you from keeping adequate records for MassHealth .  MassHealth  will simply refuse to accept statements describing past transfers. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the two components to properly paying a home health aide hired without the assistance of an agency.

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates, we help people and their families concerned with losing their homes and life savings to increasing medical and nursing home costs, taxes and the costs and time delays of probate. We also protect clients from losing control of their own health and financial decisions.

We developed our Unique Self-Guided 19-Point Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection Legal Guide, so you can learn where problems may exist in your planning as well as opportunities for improvement and how to implement a plan to protect your spouse, home, family, and life savings.  

Click Here to Download our Trust, Estate, & Asset Protection  Legal Guide

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops to learn more about our process and what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy. To register for a seat at an upcoming workshop call (800) 964-4295 (24/7) or register online at www.SeniorWorkshop.com

Tags: MassHealth, Massachusetts, caregiver, Elder Law, Attorney, legal

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