Understanding Medicaid Planning


Speak with a trusted probate lawyer in Cherokee County, Georgia.

What Is Medicaid Planning?

Perigon Legal Services provides guidance for Medicaid planning to help you understand long-term care expenses. Contact us today for more information.

Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on October 12, 2023.

Medicaid planning is crucial for those who do not initially qualify for Medicaid due to substantial monthly income, savings, or property ownership.

This planning process involves strategically reorganizing personal assets to facilitate eligibility for Medicaid benefits, which can cover the substantial expenses associated with long-term healthcare, including home care or nursing home costs.

One instrumental tool in Medicaid planning is the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, commonly called a Medicaid trust. When structured correctly and executed within specific time frames, assets placed within a Medicaid trust will not be counted toward the maximum asset limit for Medicaid qualification, offering a potential pathway to eligibility for those who might otherwise not qualify.

Medicaid planning requires the careful evaluation of your financial situation and healthcare needs. To explore your options and receive advice tailored to your specific situation, don’t hesitate to consult with our estate lawyers at Perigon Legal Services.

Medicaid Eligibility and Requirements

Medicaid, established in 1965, is a program operated by both the federal government and individual states. It aims to provide essential medical, custodial, or long-term care assistance to individuals with limited income or resources. It’s essential to distinguish Medicaid from Medicare, as the former covers services beyond what Medicare offers and caters to specific needs such as nursing home care and personal care services.

Medicaid eligibility extends to various groups, including seniors, individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, and children, encompassing U.S. citizens and certain non-U.S. citizens. Qualification primarily depends on income relative to family size, with specific income limit requirements determined annually based on federal poverty guidelines.

Applying for Medicaid in Georgia can be done online or in person. Seniors seeking Medicaid coverage for nursing home care, commonly called Medicaid Long Term, may be required to file a Long-term Care Addendum as part of the application process. This addendum verifies any asset transfers made in the past five years and requires a comprehensive disclosure of income and assets.

When considering applying to Medicaid, individuals should be cautious about asset transfers and consider seeking professional guidance. If you have questions or need assistance with your Medicaid application, consult a law attorney from Perigon Legal Services.

Steps for Medicaid Planning

Medicaid planning is a strategic process to ensure eligibility for Medicaid benefits while preserving assets and preparing for long-term care costs. Here are essential steps to consider:

  1. Eligibility Assessment: Begin by assessing your eligibility for Medicaid based on status, income, and asset requirements.
  2. Asset Review: Evaluate your financial assets comprehensively, including bank accounts, real estate holdings, investments, and personal property.
  3. Gifting Strategy: If necessary, develop a gifting strategy to divest yourself of excess assets. Keep in mind that Medicaid reviews asset transfers within the last five years.
  4. Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT): Consider creating a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT), an irrevocable trust designed to shield assets from Medicaid eligibility requirements. Assets placed in a MAPT are not counted toward Medicaid eligibility limits.
  5. Special Needs Trust: If you have a disabled family member, contemplate establishing a Special Needs Trust. This trust enables you to meet their needs while maintaining their Medicaid eligibility.
  6. Income Management: Adjust your income to meet Medicaid income limits. Strategies may include annuities, converting assets, deducting federal and state taxes and non-covered medical expenses, or using spousal allowances.
  7. Documentation: Gather essential documents to support your planning efforts. These documents include proof of income, assets, medical expenses, and any existing estate planning documents.

Other Medicaid planning strategies you and your estate planning attorney can explore include:

  • Irrevocable funeral trust

  • Medicaid compliant annuities

  • Spenddown strategies

  • Spousal assets and income transfers

  • Qualified income trust

Medicaid Planning and Trusts

Trusts are integral components of Medicaid planning strategies, serving as powerful tools to protect assets while ensuring eligibility for Medicaid benefits. One critical trust used in Medicaid planning is the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, also known as an irrevocable income-only trust.

By transferring assets into a MAPT, individuals can effectively remove those assets from countable Medicaid assets. The trust’s grantor no longer owns those assets, but they can still benefit from them indirectly. MAPTs provide a way to preserve wealth for future generations or intended beneficiaries while addressing long-term healthcare costs.

However, adhering to specific rules and timelines is essential when establishing and funding a MAPT to ensure its effectiveness in Medicaid planning.

Medicaid planning with trusts requires meticulous attention to detail and a deep understanding of Georgia estate law and Medicaid rules. It is essential to consult with an experienced Medicaid planner or lawyer from Perigon Legal Services to ensure a successful strategy that meets your unique needs.

Perigon Legal Services Can Help

At Perigon Legal Services, our estate planning and elder law attorney can help you navigate the intricate topic of Medicaid planning. We understand that Medicaid planning can be complex, particularly in light of the ever-changing Medicaid eligibility rules. Our seasoned elder law attorneys are well-versed in these regulations and can build effective strategies to ensure your Medicaid eligibility while preserving your assets.

Our commitment extends to guiding Medicaid applicants through the entire process, from assessing eligibility to crafting customized Medicaid planning solutions that align with their unique circumstances.

With Perigon Legal Services, you’re not just receiving legal guidance; you’re gaining a trusted partner dedicated to securing your financial well-being. If you’re ready to start Medicaid planning and learn about how it can benefit you or your loved ones, we invite you to schedule a free consultation with our experienced attorneys.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Medicaid Planning Only for Low-Income Individuals?

While having a low income is one of the eligibility requirements of Medicaid, individuals with a higher income than the limit can also benefit from the program through Medicaid planning.

What Is the Medicaid Look-Back Period?

The Medicaid look-back period is a review of an applicant’s financial transactions and asset transfers over the five years preceding their Medicaid application. Any uncompensated transfers or gifts made during this period may result in a penalty period during which Medicaid coverage is not provided for long-term care.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Use the form below to tell us about your legal inquiry, and we’ll call you back to schedule an appointment. Please be as detailed as possible. You may also email or call us to make an appointment. Our general response time is one business day.

* Please do not include confidential or sensitive information in your message. In the event that we are representing a party with opposing interests to your own, we may have a duty to disclose any information you provide to our client. *


Shape 1 min6400 Powers Ferry Road NW Suite 386
Atlanta, Georgia 30339