Asset Protection: It Isn’t Just for the Wealthy!

What is an asset? The dictionary defines an asset as “something that is owned by a person, company, or organization, such as money, property, or land.” In general, there are four broad classes of assets:

  • Equities (stocks)
  • Fixed income and debt (bonds)
  • Money market and cash equivalents.
  • Real estate and tangible assets. A house, like any other object that comes into your possession, is classified as an asset.

Asset Protection refers to strategies to use income and assets in the most effective manner. In the Hurley Elder Care Law office, asset protection typically refers to preserving assets from catastrophic nursing home costs.

When can Asset Protection Come in Handy?

Consider this: Janet is 75 years old. Her husband died unexpectedly in middle age and left a small life insurance policy. Janet, who had been a stay-at-home parent, returned to work as a receptionist in a physician’s practice. She retired after working for 25 years with a bit of savings and a home that has been paid off. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease several years ago, and her symptoms are worsening. She knows that she must plan for care and utilize her assets in the best way possible, but where to start?

Can Asset Protection Help with Nursing Home Costs?

When skilled nursing level of care is necessary, many families face the difficult question of how to pay the bill. Did you know that nursing homes in Georgia cost on average between $7,500 and $9,500 per month?! For most people, a year or two in a nursing home could wipe out a lifetime of savings. Even for the fortunate few with a bigger nest egg, a stay in a long-term care facility could take a major bite out of assets that may need to be used toward a spouse’s future care needs or they had planned to leave to their family.

Women Often Outlive Men

Did you know women outlive men on average 5.4 years?  In fact, roughly 2/3 of residents in skilled nursing facilities are women. Therefore, it is crucial women plan for a longer retirement and the likelihood they may require long-term care. Asset Protection is key to effective long-term care planning. All seniors really should be concerned about the protection and preservation of their assets because statistics indicate that most people over age 65 will likely use institutional care, such as a nursing home, at some point in their lives.

The Medicaid program is the largest single payor source for skilled nursing care in the state of Georgia. Medicaid is a joint federal, state, and local program that includes long-term care for those who are permanently or chronically ill, injured, or disabled. Utilizing Medicaid to offset nursing home costs sounds reasonable, but the income and asset limits for eligibility are very strict. A Certified Elder Law Attorney can address Asset Protection strategies while applying for public benefits such as Nursing Home Medicaid, enabling the individual to receive the care needed while not depleting all resources.

As a loved one ages, it’s important to design a strategy for using their income and assets in the most effective manner. With experienced legal advice and aid in Asset Protection from a certified elder law attorney, you and your family members can preserve your savings, income, as well as your home for yourself and your loved ones. Call Hurley Elder Care Law at 404-843-0121 to discuss if Asset Protection is right for you.

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