Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need an estate plan?
An estate plan gives you the power to make decisions regarding your health and finances both during life and after death. It can provide protection and guidance to your heirs and can reduce taxes, probate and other fees and expenses of your estate. In some cases, it can be used to protect your hard-earned assets from health care costs and other liabilities. Without an estate plan you leave these important decisions up to the State and Courts, and often end up significantly reducing the value of your estate.
What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid regarding Long-Term Care?
Medicare, the health insurance held by most elders, has very limited long-term coverage (only 20 days full coverage with maximum of 100 days). Medicaid is not insurance but a needs-based program for which eligibility is determined by demonstrating income and assets are below prescribed limits.
Is it too late to plan once your loved one is in a nursing home?
No. We can still save a major portion of your loved one's remaining assets, for their spouse at home, their family or for themselves. The majority of nursing home residents receive Medicaid benefits.
Is the quality of care the same for residents receiving Medicaid benefits as a private-pay patient?
Yes. Consumer Protection Law 93A obligates nursing homes to refrain from discriminating against Medicaid recipients.
My loved one requires more care than I can provide but we want to avoid a nursing home. Are there any options for us?
Yes. MassHealth pays for long-term care for eligible seniors, but there are many other MassHealth programs that will pay for home care services, allowing frail seniors to remain in their own home or the home of a loved one. Some programs will even pay family members to care for their loved one. By creating an effective estate strategy, many Massachusetts seniors and their families can benefit from these eligibility-based care programs.
My child needs special needs services. What can we do to provide assets for him/her in the future?
A Supplemental Needs Trust, also called Special Needs Trust, is a special type of trust that is designed specifically to permit a disabled individual to have access to assets to improve their life while still qualifying for certain asset-based government benefits. There are several types of Supplemental or Special needs trusts, but each holds funds for the benefit of the disabled individual, who has no actual access or control over the funds. The trustee, the person in charge of the trust, has the discretion to use the funds for the benefit of the disabled individual. He or she may use the funds for any purpose as long as it is not for a purpose that the governmental funds are designed to provide. For example, a trustee may not use the funds in the trust to pay for a doctor appointment, but he or she may use it to pay any co-pay that is not covered by the benefits received by the disabled individual. The trustee may also use the funds to pay for transportation, vacation, education or other things that are not ordinarily covered by the governmental benefits the disabled individual receives.