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Recently, Attorney Dennis B. Sullivan of Wellesley
attended a national conference of Attorneys specializing in estate planning,
elder law and disability planning in Chicago,
IL. Medicaid problems were
discussed.  Improper Medicaid planning
creates problems for families and nursing homes around the country.  There are many misconceptions about Medicaid
planning which often create long penalty periods which end up financially
devastating for both families and the nursing homes because there is no money
for the family to pay or the nursing home to receive during the penalty period.

Each month, the attorneys and staff of The Estate Planning and Asset
Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan and Associates hold educational
workshops to explain how to identify and prevent potential problems. Our
workshops are part of our commitment to helping seniors and their families
clear up the many misconceptions about MassHealth (Medicaid in Massachusetts). We have
seen mistakes cost families dearly, either by causing unnecessary
disqualification periods where MassHealth will not cover them, or by causing
them to spend their life savings before seeking help with nursing home and
medication costs and losing whatever is left to estate recovery after the elder
passes away.

Here are some of the common Medicaid misconceptions we hear about:

Here are some of the common Medicaid misconceptions we hear about:

“I have to give away everything but $2,000 before I can get Medicaid”
All MassHealth recipients are able to keep some of their assets, which
can add up to significantly more than $2,000, and still qualify for
benefits. The key is to understand what constitutes an “exempt” asset
and how to plan for them.

A single person in Massachusetts can keep a few items, including the
house they lived in before going into the nursing home up to $750,000
in value (as long as they are well enough to go home), one automobile
of any value, a specific type of pre-paid funeral plan, burial account,
personal belongings and up to $2,000. The laws surrounding what a
married couple can keep are even more complicated and vary depending on
each individual’s specific set of circumstances, but are usually
limited to the exempt assets and about $109,000.

That’s why it’s important to have an experienced Elder Law attorney
review your financial situation before you apply for benefits.

Watch for the next part of our series and review our consumer guides for more information today!