Protecting assets from nursing home costs is the latest challenge for seniors where government is demanding an uncapped spend down of their asset if one of them falls victim to a nursing home. Canada and some other countries offer this benefit as part of their rights, since they contributed to their Medicaid system during their working years.
The United States apparently, is going the route of demanding that seniors cover their own expenses, even if they carry private plans. What hurts the most is that there’s no cap on what has to be the spent down under the new provisions mandating that all states adopt the new federal guidelines on nursing home eligibility or lose their federal funding.
The evidence is clear, the baby boomers generation cannot expect government to cover their medical and nursing home costs. They have begun with existing seniors, who before they can even qualify for the nursing home cannot move their assets (asset protection) without the 5 year look-back, it was 3 years.
You don’t need a fortune teller to point out, that if one of you gets sick, your hard earned assets will vaporize-right before your very eyes. Even if you planned carefully for your retirement, a catastrophic medical event will leave both of you devastated, one sick and one without any resources.
Planning for your reducing your nursing home costs has to be done early and definitively 5 years before you plan to get sick. Any string attached to your planning will void your plan to protect your assets from the nursing home costs. Your plan must be irrevocable. You cannot be the Indian giver, or the kid with the basketball making-up the rules as he sees fit whereby if he doesn’t like the way the game is progressing takes back the basket ball and goes home to his mommy.
Any asset transferred from you to someone else, some legal structure has to be at the “fair market value” the price paid by a willing buyer and a willing seller neither under a compulsion to buy or sell, each acting in their best interest. If it’s a taxable gift, it has to be justified with a legitimate appraisal and taxes have to be paid on the gift by the transferor, the receiver of the gift is always tax-free. If it’s a sale, the cash has to be exchanged. There are methods by which no cash need to change hands and still be a legal exchange. It’s called the “private annuity.”
A private annuity is nothing more than a contract between the guy with the money and a custodian whereby in exchange for the cash the custodian promises to pay over the transferor’s lifetime a certain amount, thus limiting the amount that can be used to defray the cost of the nursing home.