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Medicaid planning may be a very important part of an estate plan for many residents of Kansas City. However, eligibility for Medicaid can be very complex area of law. The following is a brief overview of two Medicaid eligibility issues.

When determining eligibility, the federal Medicaid program takes into account the applicant’s income and other financial resources in what is known as a means-test. In some cases, Medicaid benefits can be used towards affording nursing home costs, if a person meets the Medicaid means-test. One step some applicants may consider taking when applying for Medicaid is to place some assets in a qualified income trust or other type of special needs trust. Doing so can be very complicated, and should not be attempted without the help of professionals.

When a person is applying for Medicaid, any gifts they made to another person during the previous five years may be considered for Medicaid eligibility purposes. In fact, the situation surrounding Medicaid rules and gifts can be highly nuanced. For example, depending on the circumstances, an adult child who lived with his or her parent to care for their parent’s needs, thus delaying the need for the parent to enter a nursing home, may be allowed to be gifted property without being penalized. However, this is only possible in some cases. An elder law attorney can provide more information about the “two-year caretaker rule,” and other Medicaid rules.

These are only two situations that briefly describe the vast arena of Medicaid eligibility. Other rules, such as the “spousal protected resource amount,” the “Medicaid estate recovery program,” and “undue hardship requests,” may apply in an individual’s situation. These programs go beyond what can be covered in this post, as this post does not provide legal advice. If our Kansas City readers have further questions about Medicaid eligibility, they may need to consult with an elder law attorney.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Legal Issues at the Intersection of Elder Law and Estate Planning,” Brad Reid, Sept. 22, 2015