Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT PEOPLE ARE ASKING
1. What can an elder law attorney do for you?
An elder law attorney is able to assist you and your family in many different ways. Most of them are able to handle a wide range of legal matters related to aging or disability, including issues with retirement, Social Security, health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, Medicare/Medicaid, and other important matters you’ll face as you age. Working with an attorney can ensure your wishes are honored, you aren’t confused by the sometimes complex legal matters related to programs, and your family is protected.
2. What assets are protected from Medicaid?
In general, the assets that receive protection from Medicaid include a person’s primary residence as long as the person or the person’s spouse is living in it. In Pennsylvania, Medicaid residents are eligible for “intent to return home,” provided they (or someone acting on their behalf) expresses an intent to return to the home. Every situation is different, so it’s important to speak to an expert about your specific circumstances.
3. Does a living trust protect assets from nursing home?
Yes, certain types of trusts protect your assets from nursing home costs. However, by itself, a trust might not protect your assets entirely. To enjoy protection, you must establish an irrevocable trust which removes assets from your direct control. In most cases, this type of trust is not recommended unless you anticipate the need for nursing home care within the next eight to ten years. Instead, you could set up a revocable trust with powers of attorney, which can be altered in the future as needed.
4. What is qualified income trust?
A qualified income trust, which is also referred to as a Miller trust, is a tool that allows someone to reduce his or her income and become eligible for Medicaid coverage. A qualified income trust is an irrevocable trust, which means once it's created he or she cannot revoke or change the trust without court action, except for under limited circumstances. It can be an effective estate planning tool, but it isn’t right for everyone, which is why you should speak to an attorney.