You deed your house to the kids.
We have heard people say they want the kids to get their house, so they will sign the deed over to the kids. Then no one else can get it. Here is the problem- if you need TennCare or Medicaid, there is a five year “look back” period. If you have given anything to anyone for less than fair market value, you will be penalized. TennCare can refuse services until the penalty period is over… which could be years.
No Crystal Ball
So, what can you do to make sure the kids get the family farm, and you still have government benefits if you need them? One way is to move the house or anything of value into an asset protection trust at least five years before you may need a to file for Medicaid or TennCare. How in the world will you know five years before you need a nursing home? You don’t. There is no crystal ball to predict the future. But there are trust options available to provide protection and peace of mind. You can have peace of mind that the family will be provided for, and they will have peace of mind that you will be provided for.
Some seniors are reluctant to put their assets into a trust. They feel like they will lose their control and independence. That is why we encourage seniors to choose a trustee wisely, one whom they trust. Also, having assets in a trust does not mean that you lose those assets. It just means you have indirect access to them. That is how the assets are protected. If you don’t have direct access to them, neither does TennCare, Medicaid, creditors, or scam artists who prey on the elderly.
Tailor Made Trusts
Trusts can be specifically designed to fit your needs and those of your family. If you have a special needs, gambling or addict child, you can design trusts to provide for those children while protecting the assets only for their health, education, medical needs and support.
You may be focusing on what will happen to your assets once you die. Think about what might happen if you live, but do not have the ability to take care of yourself. This is where it is very important to consult with an Elder Law Attorney who has experience guiding families through these planning issues.
We Can Help
Currently the estate planning process can occur without you even leaving your home. We are here to help guide you as you make decisions regarding your estate and long term care planning needs. Whatever issue is preventing you from developing a more extensive estate plan, please allow Elder Law of Middle Tennessee to assist you in this process.
For more information, contact our Lebanon, TN office at 615-444-3568 and schedule your appointment today.