Our Services

Our staff is committed to providing clients the highest quality services with the greatest degree of personal attention. We are sensitive to the needs of each individual client and strive to make the process as smooth as possible. We are professional advocates with problem solving skills that benefit the elder community.

Please contact us for further information.

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Asset Protection

Asset protection is a system for ensuring that the maximum amount of your assets are transferred to the people you care about. We achieve this goal through helping you avoid probate and minimizing both federal and state inheritance taxes.

Asset Protection: IRA, 401(k), 403(b)

Pensions can be defined two ways: A regular stream of income that is received from an employer for your life time and possibly to your spouse when you pass or a pension can be a lump sum value that was held in a 401 k, 403b or SEP Plan. These amounts are generally rolled into IRA accounts when you retire.

From a medicaid perspective these IRA's are countable assets that will have to be liquidated to pay for Assisted Living or Nursing Home Care. Because of the tax status of these assets, a planning strategy must be implemented to protect them from Long-Term Care expenses.

A couple of strategies such as changing the beneficiary or drawing down the asset over time may be right for you.

Remember it is important to define which type of pension you own and what the correct form of planning should be.

It is also important to determine if these plans will be part of an overall estate tax that may be owed at your passing.

Long-Term Care Planning

Whether your family member's long-term needs lie within a nursing home or an assisted living setting, we are able to help you navigate the pursuit of, and qualification for, the many government benefits available to you.

Long-Term Care: Nursing Home
Single Persons

A single person cannot have more than $2000.00 in Massachusetts, and $2500.00 in New Hampshire, to qualify for medical assistance. Although most people believe they must spend their money down to that amount before they qualify for Medicaid or MassHealth (and most nursing homes will not tell you otherwise), there are planning techniques that can salvage some of the assets of a single person for their loved ones.

One technique is to gift assets at least five (5) years in advance of entering a nursing home. This is always challenging because no one knows when they will need long term care and they put off such planning.

Married Couples

If one spouse has to enter a nursing home, the healthy spouse is allowed to keep $119,000, the home and one car. The nursing home spouse gets to keep $2000.00 in Massachusetts, and $2500.00 in New Hampshire. The balance of the marital estate would have to be spent down on the ill spouse's nursing home costs. Some of the money could be spent down by prepaying funeral expenses of both spouses, purchasing a car or house (if they don't already own one) and/or purchasing a Medicaid Qualifying Annuity.

A Medicaid Qualifying Annuity is essentially the conversion of excess assets that should be spent down, to income for the healthy spouse. The healthy spouse's income is not countable when determining the nursing home spouse's eligibility for medical assistance. The annuity must be irrevocable, non-transferable and non-assignable for it to be qualified.

Seniors tend to be particularly concerned about the likelihood that they will require nursing home placement at some time in the future. Medical care or personal assistance provided by a caretaker or a facility for an extended period of time is known as "long-term care." One's ability to perform Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) is a common standard for judging whether long-term care is required. If an individual retains the ability to perform most or all ADLs (like bathing, cooking, walking, eating and dressing) without assistance, then long-term care probably is not required.

Care provided by family members on an informal basis probably accounts for the largest share of long-term care being provided in our country. More formal long-term care arrangements in the home and licensed institutions are paid for by a combination of federal and state assistance programs, social and charitable organizations, insurance and personal wealth. Insurance coverage of long-term care benefits is becoming more widely available and popular.

Long-Term Care: Assisted Living

The process of finding the Assisted Living facility right for you may be stressful, however, our team will help you through the many barriers associated with this decision.

We will analyze your financial situation and along with Veterans Benefits, if you qualify, show you how to afford this new life style.

Veteran's Benefits
We will assist you with your VA benefits pre-qualification.

Veterans Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in two of the following five activities of daily living; eating, bathing, dressing, continence and transferring. It includes an individual receiving home care services at home, living in an assisted living facility or a patient in a nursing home.

Veteran's Benefits: Aid & Attendance

Veterans Aid and Attendance is a pension benefit for veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in two of the following five activities of daily living; eating, bathing, dressing, continence and transferring. It includes an individual receiving home care services at home, living in an assisted living facility or a patient in a nursing home.

Please have the following information ready before you call:
  • Monthly Gross Income from All Sources, including Interest, Dividends, IRA distributions, Capital Gains
  • Monthly medical expenses including Health and/or Long Term Care Insurance Premiums
  • Understanding of Applicant’s Assets including IRA’s
This benefit can help pay for home care services, assisted living facility or nursing home.

A Veteran with a spouse may qualify for as much as $2,120 per month.
A single Veteran may qualify for as much as $1,788 per month.
Well Veteran-ill Spouse may qualify for as much as $1,300 per month.
A surviving spouse may qualify for as much as $1,149 per month.

Any war veteran who has been honorably discharged with at least 90 days of active duty, 1 day beginning or ending during a period of war, who also meets the financial and medical criteria are eligible for this benefit.

With estate and financial planning, all veterans who are medically eligible can qualify for this benefit.

Eligibility must be proven by filing the proper VA forms for Pension. This application will require a (preferably certified) copy of DD-214 or separation papers, medical evaluation from physician with diagnosis, prognosis, and assistance needs, proof of all assets and gross income, along with recurring out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Benefits can take 6 months to receive and are retroactive to the date of application.

Example of determining monthly benefit amount for an eligible war veteran:
Total monthly income$3,500.00(Includes cost of
home care,
assisted living,
nursing home)
Total out-of-pocket medical expenses$5,500.00
Total Net Income0
Aid & Attendance$1,788.00
Less Total Net Income0
Total VA benefit per month$1,788.00

Period of War
Eligible "Periods of War" are defined as:

  • World War II. December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.
  • Korean conflict. June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955, inclusive.
  • Vietnam era. The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in all other cases. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(29))
  • Persian Gulf War. August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 101(33))

Medicaid Planning
What is Medicaid Planning?

Medicaid planning is a response to the concern of older Americans regarding the high cost of long-term nursing home care. With the comprehensive coverage provided by Medicaid, elder law attorneys and their respective clients have come to view Medicaid planning as a required analysis to determine how best to provide for a at home care or pay for long term nursing home admission. Generally, the purpose behind Medicaid planning is to make the individual eligible for Medicaid benefits, while preserving as much of his or her resources for the benefit of the other family members if long term care insurance is unavailable.

What is Medicaid Crisis Planning?

Medicaid crisis planning occurs when an individual meets all of the following criteria:

  • The individual is entering a nursing home or a resident of a nursing home
  • Is not expected to return home or into the community
  • Has exhausted all of his or her Medicare coverage
  • Has been asked to self pay

Qualification of individuals for Medicaid is sometimes referred to as "medicaid eligibility" planning. It is a form of asset protection. Our philosophy of Medicaid planning results in the protection of family assets in a fashion that is legal and civically responsible.

There are three ways to pay for nursing home stays: private pay, long-term care insurance, Veteran's benefits or Medicaid. Only about 5% of Americans have long-term care insurance. Many individuals are medically uninsurable, and others cannot afford the premiums for insurance. At best, Medicare pays for up to 100 days of institutionalized care, and then only for rehabilitative stays following a qualifying hospitalization. Less than 1% of nursing home residents are receiving Veteran's benefits. The most common alternative to private pay and long-term care insurance is Medicaid. By carefully designing a long-term care plan, security can be ensured for the community spouse and a legacy may be preserved for children.

The rules for Medicaid eligibility are strict. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien of the state in which he or she applies, and must meet state income and asset limits. In New Hampshire, a Medicaid applicant is allowed to retain only $2,500 worth of countable assets. In Massachusetts the limit is $2,000.

Medicaid Planning
978-521-9020 ~