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Over the weekend the Wall Street journal ran an article on elder law
planning entitled "Inoculating
Estates From Health Costs". While I'm always happy to see an article about
elder care planning in the news because it's such a critically important and
mis-understood problem, in this article the Wall Street Journal missed
The article opens as follows:
Should you give away your nest egg to your heirs-and then stick Medicaid with
your nursing-home tab when the time comes? Outrageous though it might seem, it
is a perfectly legal estate-planning strategy.
The author seems to think that this is what Medicaid asset protection
planning is all about -- happily giving away millions in assets so you can
"stick it" to the government should you get sick. This assumption
couldn't be further from the truth.
The vast majority of clients I see who seek elder care advice from an
attorney are not rich -- they typically have a modest home that they have owned
for 40+ years which has appreciated in value primarily because of its location
in Northern New Jersey. They may have $100,000 to $300,000 in savings - they may
have less or none. They are generally living off of the fixed income of Social
Security, a small pension, and income off their meager assets, in the most
expensive state in the country. Real estate taxes for that modest home easily
range between $6000 and $15,000 per year. Given current interest rates, the
income off of a $100,000 CD may be approximately $4000 a year (which might cover
part of their real estate taxes).
Wall Street Journal is Wrong that Seniors want to "Game" Medicaid in its
entirety on New Jersey Estate Planning &
Elder Law Blog.Deirdre R. Wheatley-Liss is a shareholder of the Law Firm of Fein,
Such, Kahn & Shepard, P.C., with offices in Parsippany and Toms
River, New Jersey. She concentrates her practice in the areas of Elder
Law, Estate Planning and Administration, Business Planning and Tax Law.
Deirdre's individual clients range from their 20's to their 80's and
beyond, while her business clients range from start-ups with exciting
new ideas to 100+ year old business ventures. Clients seek Deirdre's
advice and assistance with a variety of planning issues relating to
identifying and meeting their personal, family and business goals,
whether in a planning or crises situation.