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In my first blog in this series, I spoke about what a Medicaid applicant and his or her loved ones will need to do in order to ensure that their attorney has everything necessary in order to make a successful application for Community Medicaid (i.e. home care).
Today, I will discuss what you should expect an attorney to do, after he or she is retained, to guide the Medicaid applicant and his or her loved ones through the Medicaid application process.
When he or she is engaged to complete an application for Community Medicaid, you can expect an experienced elder law attorney to do all of the following:
- Advise on how the Medicaid applicant can become eligible for community Medicaid. This will most commonly involve education on the transfers of assets, and in many cases, the concept of joining a pooled income trust. A qualified attorney should be able to:
- prepare documents to permit smooth and secure transfers of assets (such as a Durable Power of Attorney and/or an irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust);
- advise on asset transfers and ways to protect transferred assets; and
- advise on why joining a pooled income trust may be necessary and assisting with the forms required for the Medicaid applicant to join such a trust.
- Complete the New York Community Medicaid application forms and submit them to the appropriate agency for review and processing.
- Audit all the materials submitted to make sure the applicant has everything necessary for the application to be deemed complete. This would include:
- auditing all of the financial accounts of the Medicaid applicant and the applicant’s spouse;
- identifying any and all transactions likely to be examined and making sure all are explained and accounted for, or advising the client of the impact on the application of being unable to provide adequate documentation concerning such transactions; and
- advising the client of any additional information or documentation that Medicaid is likely to request and explain how it will be used and the proper steps to take in requesting documentation.
- Advise on how to obtain documents the Medicaid applicant and/or their loved ones are having trouble accessing that are needed for the application.
In compiling an application for Community Medicaid, there are a couple of other things an attorney can do, but which the Medicaid applicant and/or his or her loved ones should do in order to avoid incurring large legal fees. These include:
- obtaining financial statements for the Medicaid applicant and the applicant’s spouse provided the client gives the attorney written authorization; and
- obtaining change of beneficiary forms for the client which the client then needs to complete.
If you or a loved one is interested in protecting assets and accessing Medicaid to pay for care that allows you to remain in your home, our experienced elder law attorneys can help.