People have different reasons to start estate planning. Wanting to provide for children or spouses is a common motive. Others start to plan for their own peace of mind when they reach retirement age.
If you fall into that second category of estate planners, you might also find yourself thinking about your health and medical needs as you continue to age. Worrying about how to pay for medical care, what that might mean for your estate or whether you qualify for state benefits can all shroud your financial future in uncertainty.
Can estate planning help you qualify for Medicaid if you need it?
People can and often do integrate Medicaid planning into estate planning
Both the process of preparing to qualify for Medicaid and planning your estate require careful review of your circumstances and planning for your financial future. You can, in theory, plan for your future medical needs while also planning your legacy.
For example, you might want to use a trust as part of your estate plan, rather than just using it to pass personal property so that you can qualify for Medicaid when you need it. The property that you move into a trust will usually have protection from claims by Medicaid or medical creditors after you die.
Creating a living will can help you plan for future medical needs
Your estate plan can include many documents beyond a last will. Living wills protect you if you experience medical incapacitation. Dementia or a coma could leave you unable to speak on your own behalf or strip you of your legal authority to make your own decisions.
A living will might include power of attorney documents so that others can make decisions or perform transactions on your behalf. A durable power of attorney will retain its effectiveness even if you eventually lose testamentary capacity or the right to make your own legal decisions. An advance medical directive will explain what care you want to receive.
Especially if you want heroic interventions like life support, planning ahead of time to both qualify for Medicaid if you need it and to protect your assets can be an important step.