As people get older it’s a natural desire to help their children financially, or perhaps make gifts to their grandchildren or other family members. But that generosity may later affect their eligibility for Medicaid benefits if they ever need long-term care.
WHAT IS MEDICAID?
Medicaid is a program that provides health coverage and long-term care to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Although the program is administered under federal guidelines and partially funded with federal funds, it is administered independently be each state.
MEDICAID AND LONG-TERM CARE
With the advancements in medical technology, people are living longer than ever before. As a result, it’s not unusual for them to outlive their financial resources. For those individuals who may require long-term care at some point during their lifetime, without the ability to pay for such care, Medicaid is often the program to which they turn. For those who meet the program’s strict asset and income guidelines, Medicaid can provide life-saving benefits to cover the costs of a nursing home or other long-term care. However, the program rules are extremely complex, and great care must be taken in order to comply with them. Actions that people take now could affect their eligibility for benefits in the future. Continue reading
When one family member lends money to another, both parties often believe that the deal they make is just between the two of them. But in the eyes of legal and tax authorities, the lending business is just that—a business. These seemingly private activities can come with some very business-like strings attached.
Here you’ll learn a few items that you should keep in mind if and when you decide to make a loan to a family member, friend or some other individual in your life.
Think About How the IRS Treats Interest
In a deal between relatives or friends, the “lender” sometimes decides not to charge interest on the loan. Perhaps the loan amount is small, or perhaps there is a feeling of ill will that parties tie to the thought of interest.
But if you do not charge interest, or if you charge a rate lower than something called the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR), be prepared for tax consequences. The IRS will tax the maker of the loan on the amount of interest that the lender should have charged. Continue reading
Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney serving clients in Hudson, WI and surrounding communities
Gift Planning and Medicaid…Use Caution!
There are many reasons why we make gifts to our children or loved ones. Whether we’re helping them with college tuition, buying that first home, or assisting with a medical or financial hardship, we’re compelled to take care of our family. As an Estate Planning Attorney I find that many of my clients in their senior years often feel the need to begin gifting their assets to their children or grandchildren. But great care should be taken when making gifts in our later years. Careful planning with an attorney experienced in Estate Planning and Elder Law is necessary to help ensure that your gifting is not jeopardizing your eligibility for the Medicaid program should you ever need assistance with your medical expenses or long-term care needs. When I explain this to my clients, their first response is always to remind me of the annual gift tax exclusion, which allows them to gift a certain sum of money to each child and/or grandchild each year without gift tax consequences. Well, that’s true, but read on. Continue reading