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Medicaid planning focuses on life, not death

While many Ohio residents will make an effort to complete their estate plans well before those provisions are needed, very few will give Medicaid planning similar attention. No one wants to think about having to rely on Medicaid in their later years, but not wanting to face one's fears does nothing to protect against those undesirable outcomes. When it comes to planning for every contingency, Medicaid planning is an area of estate preparation that focuses on life, not death.

Taking advantage of Medicaid will most likely require a degree of advanced planning. Unless an individual has very few assets, qualifying for Medicaid can be a challenge. The best way to ensure that those benefits are available when they are needed is to plan ahead. This is another matter that few people are comfortable with, as reallocating one's hard-earned wealth is not something that anyone looks forward to.

Some people find it easier to think of this process as handing down an inheritance to loved ones while they are still there to see the benefits that such generosity provides. Many will begin making annual gifts to reduce their overall base of wealth. Others will use a trust to shelter various assets. However, it is important to understand that any such transfers of wealth must be accomplished well before Medicaid assistance will be needed.

Medicaid planning is a highly personal matter, and it is one that requires a careful and considered approach. With the right degree of planning, Ohio residents can hand down the bulk of their wealth to loved ones and qualify for Medicaid assistance if and when the time comes. This is planning for life, not a focus on one's death. When working through the available options, it is absolutely imperative to take advantage of the services of a legal professional.

Source: USA Today, "Navigating Medicaid for elder care can be as painful as the ailments", Jayne O'Donnell and Laura Ungar, March 23, 2016

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