What is Elder Law?
Elder law is an area of law that not only includes estate planning, but also covers all aspects of planning for aging, illness and incapacity. At McGinty, Belcher & Hamilton, our Elder law attorneys are particularly sensitive to the legal issues affecting our elder clients and their unique needs, including those related to competence and aging. We understand our client’s needs that go beyond basic legal services and are here to counsel, educate, and advocate for our clients.
For example, one of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. Going into a nursing home means a great loss of personal freedom, but also has tremendous financial cost. Nursing homes cost between $60,000 and $150,000 a year, depending on location and level of care. When planning an estate for our clients we take into consideration the health of the person or couple, the potential for nursing home care and the wishes and concerns of the person or couple if that event were to occur. We work hard to help our clients preserve their independence, and their resources.
You should consider an elder law attorney for help with…
Health and personal care planning, which include the following topics: powers of attorney and advance directives for health care; lifetime planning; family issues;
- Planning for a well spouse when the other spouse is disabled, incapacitated or diagnosed with a disability for Medicaid planning and special needs trust planning;
- Asset protection; public benefits such as Medicaid and insurance; and Veterans’ benefits, including Aid & Attendance;
- Capacity; guardianship and conservatorship proceedings; and guardianship and conservatorship avoidance;
- Will and trust planning; planning for a minor or adult special needs children;
- You or your loved one need to prepare an estate plan.
For more information see the Elder Law Key Terms below or contact us and schedule your free consultation.
Is your loved one facing a long-term care stay? Do they need to qualify for financial assistance to pay for their long-term stay? The decision to move a family member or a loved one into a facility is one of the most difficult decisions you can make. With the national average cost of nursing home care at $75,000 per year, for many, the most difficult task is determining how to pay for it without going broke!
Medicaid is a joint Federal and State health care program, administered by the state, that helps pay for medical services for certain eligible individuals. However, understanding the process of qualifying for Medicaid can be an exhausting ordeal. The Medicaid rules and regulations change frequently and are complicated to say the least! One of the primary concerns we hear from families is that they are afraid that qualifying for Medicaid will leave them virtually penniless.
We help families understand, manage and prepare for a long-term illness and navigate the complex area of Medicaid.
Some of the questions we answer from worried families just like you are:
- Will I lose my home?
- Can I keep any of my income?
- Is it possible to reduce (or even eliminate) my nursing home bills?
- My loved one is already in a long term care facility. Is it too late to qualify for benefits?
Medicaid Planning Myths
So many times clients come to our office under the mistaken impression that there is nothing that can be done to protect assets from long term care costs. Fortunately much of the circulating consumer knowledge is false or misinterpreted. For example, it isn’t always necessary to wait 5 years after gifting assets to become eligible for Medicaid. The answer actually depends upon the specific facts of your case. With the help of our experienced Elder Law attorneys, many of the assets you have spent a lifetime accumulating can be protected from high long term care expenses.
Medicaid Asset Protection Strategies
Although with the recent passage of the Deficit Reduction Act, increased restrictions affect the use of some techniques, other asset protection strategies remain viable, especially for married couples where one spouse requires long-term care. Some of these techniques may include setting up an Irrevocable Living Trust, making gifts to family members, and paying for certain Medicaid expenses.
Whether you are facing long-term care issues yourself or you have a family member who is, we encourage you to call and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Elder Law attorneys who will help you navigate the complex Medicaid system and avoid making costly and devastating mistakes.
Your loved ones deserve the best elder care available. Our firm is here to protect you and those you love and help you understand elder law and Medicaid eligibility. Contact us today and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced Elder Law Attorneys.
Estate planning involves helping people prepare for the control and disbursement of their estates.
What is Estate Planning?
Estate planning involves helping people prepare for the control and disbursement of their estates. Depending on what and how much you own when you die, your estate may have to pay estate taxes before your assets can be distributed to your heirs. Federal estate taxes are expensive – currently up to 47% of the estate and possibly up to 55% by 2011. Proper estate planning can substantially reduce taxes or even eliminate them altogether.
Other estate planning issues, however, may be even more important for you than paying taxes, particularly if you have a spouse or children. Issues such as: Who will take care of your children if you die or become incapacitated? Who will make medical and financial decisions for you if you become incapacitated? Who will make the decision to keep you on life support if you decline into a permanent vegetative state? These decisions will be made by a court, possibly contrary to what you may have wanted, unless you have prepared the necessary documents in advance.
A good estate plan can preserve your family’s legacy by protecting assets you want left to your children and grandchildren from creditors and predators. In some cases, a good estate plan can protect your children from themselves. At McGinty, Belcher & Hamilton we have the knowledge and tools to help you establish the estate plan that’s right for you.
Our firm is here to protect you and those you love. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help you make the most of your resources through long term planning for retirement, medical emergencies and the eventual transfer of assets to the next generation.
The main characteristic of any trust is that it separates the ownership or title to an asset from the benefit that the asset generates.
Using Trusts to Advance Your Goals for Your Family
You do not need to be wealthy to consider trusts as a way to achieve important estate planning goals for yourself, your spouse and your heirs. While trusts have always been an important tool for managing estate tax liability for affluent families, they can also make a difference for people concerned about the future management of a family business, the preservation of a family farm, protecting the eligibility of a senior citizen or special needs adult child for government benefits, and many other needs.
To learn how trusts can help you accomplish the estate planning objectives most important to you and your family, contact us and make an appointment with one of our experienced estate planning and elder law attorneys. We can advise you about such trust alternatives as the following:
- Testamentary trusts associated with wills
- Retirement planning trusts to help you maximize the benefit of your IRA’s, including the “stretch” feature
- Dynasty trusts to provide for children and grandchildren
- Living trusts to avoid probate and reduce your exposure to state or federal estate taxation
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts to provide for anticipated estate tax liability
- Medicaid asset protection trusts, especially for families who do not anticipate the need for Medicaid benefits for at least five years
- Veterans asset protection trusts
- Creditor protection trusts
- Charitable remainder trusts to benefit schools, foundations or religious organizations after your death
The main characteristic of any trust is that it separates the ownership or title to an asset from the benefit that the asset generates. That is why transferring an asset into trust has the effect of reducing the size of your estate. That is also why a trustee, or the person who manages the trust and its property, is under a strict fiduciary duty to do so in the interests of the beneficiaries of the trust.
Our firm is here to protect you and those you love. Contact us today, we can help you identify your estate planning goals and explain the trust instruments that might make the best sense for your situation and objectives.
A Will is a set of instructions that explains how to give away your property after your death.
Besides providing instructions about gifts of your property like your home, car, household goods and furnishings, recreational equipment, jewelry, and other personal effects – it can also provide instructions for payment of debts, selection of a personal representative to manage your estate, and appointment of a guardian if you have minor children.
The Advantages of a Will
Having a Will allows you to plan the distribution of your estate among your family, relatives, friends, and charities. It prevents later disputes among your heirs and may help speed up the transfer of your property to your named beneficiaries. Having a Will can also avoid certain administrative expenses. For example, if there is no Will stating that you do not want your personal representative to post a bond, the court may require a bond and the estate will have to pay bond premiums. In a large estate, proper planning can greatly reduce the amount of taxes that would other wise be due if there was no Will.
Finally, a Will allows you to appoint a personal representative to manage your estate and to appoint a guardian or conservator to take care of your minor children and handle their inheritance until they become adults.
Who can make a will?
In Oregon, anyone of sound mind and over the age of 18, or, married if younger than 18, can make a Will.
Appointing a guardian
If you have children under 18, you should appoint a guardian in your Will. If you and your spouse die at the same time without such an appointment, the court will select a guardian to care for your children and manage their inheritance. Your Will can create a trust to control the property transferred to your children. At McGinty, Belcher & Hamilton, we can help you to select a guardian and to create a trust in your Will that protects your children and your wishes.
Preparing your will with a lawyer
A Will is only valid if it complies with the requirements established by law. To be effective in Oregon, your Will must be in writing, signed by you, and witnessed by at least two other people. Your witnesses must have seen you sign the Will or must have heard you say it is your signature. If your Will is not properly written or if you do not comply with the detailed requirements for preparing a Will, your Will may be invalid. A mistake in drafting your Will can be extremely costly and cause a great deal of delay and expense in the administration of your estate. More importantly, your property may not go to the persons you want to receive it.
The disadvantages of dying without a will
If you do not make a Will, you give up the right to decide who will inherit your property. Your property will be distributed according to Oregon law. This distribution might be quite different from what you might have wished. For example, if you are married and have either no children, or you have children and all of your children are born of your current marriage, property that is in your name alone will go to your spouse. If you are married and have children from a prior marriage, one-half of your property will go to your spouse and the other half will go to your children. This is so even if you may have wanted to leave part of your estate for the care of your parents or to a friend, or charity.
Without a Will, you also lose the opportunity to select a guardian for your minor children. If you have children under 18, the court may appoint a guardian or conservator to take care of the children and to hold property for the children. This court appointed guardian or conservator may not be the family member or friend that you would have chosen to take care of your children.
Appointing a personal representative
Your personal representative is the person who will manage your estate during probate. That person will gather all your property together, pay your bills, and distribute property to your beneficiaries. A relative or friend can serve as your personal representative. It is usually best to choose someone who is comfortable taking care of financial matters and record keeping. If you do not want to choose a relative or friend as your personal representative or if you have a large estate, you may want to consider choosing professional management of your estate by selecting a bank or trust company as your personal representative
A Will is a set of instructions that explains how to give away your property after your death.
Our office is dedicated to helping veterans, surviving spouses and their families understand how to plan for and obtain long-term care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. We have found that a lot of families are unaware of the benefits available to them, while others have been misinformed that they do not qualify for benefits because they have too much income or too much property. The sad fact is that many have been given the wrong advice! If you or someone you love is a veteran (or surviving spouse of a veteran) and is housebound or needs help with daily activities like cooking, cleaning, dressing, driving, mobility, or other assistance, then Veteran pension benefits can provide the funds you need to pay for that care.
Special Care Pensions for Wartime Veterans
Housebound Pension and Aid & Attendance
While many people are unaware it exists, the Veterans Administration non-service connected pension program provides monetary assistance to wartime veterans B and surviving spouses of deceased veterans B who are disabled and are housebound or need regular personal assistance in their daily environment. If the veteran qualifies, pension benefits are provided in addition to monthly pension and Social Security benefits. In order to take advantage of all the possible benefits available and insure that the many complex, related variables are looked after, it is important to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who is accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs and who is also familiar with estate planning, disability, and Medicaid benefits. The attorneys at McGinty, Belcher & Hamilton are all accredited by the VA and our office is also experienced in estate planning, disability and Elder Law and Medicaid benefits. We provide our clients and their families requiring assistance in this area with information that will help them receive the benefits they are entitled to and get the best possible care for their loved one. We help you decide if it is appropriate to apply for VA benefits and coordinate the application with any estate planning and Medicaid planning and eligibility, that needs to be taken. Your loved ones deserve the best care available. Our firm is here to protect you and those you love. Contact us today and schedule an appointment with one of our experienced accredited VA and Elder Law Attorneys or sign up now for our free report entitled “AVA Aid & Attendance Requirements” by signing up for our newsletter below. We will send you free information about qualifying for VA pension benefits.
Special Needs Trust
Special needs trusts as part of your estate plan address two primary needs; to preserve the eligibility of the beneficiary to receive government benefits, for example a senior on Medicaid or an adult child collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI); and to protect assets that might otherwise be wasted, as in the case of a spendthrift trust. Our experienced Elder Law attorneys can advise you about both first-party and third-party special needs trusts. In a first-party special needs trust the beneficiary’s own money or property is to be transferred into trust.
In a third-party special needs trust the source of the trust assets could be a gift, an inheritance or an insurance settlement. People of any age whose physical or mental disability prevents them from earning a living may qualify for government benefits programs of various kinds, with SSI and Medicaid the most common. Because these programs are based on need, it is essential that gifts or bequests be carefully planned so as not to interfere with the beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefits. A special needs trust avoids these problems by making sure that the property is managed and controlled by a trustee rather than the beneficiary. The terms of the trust can be drawn with the eligibility conditions of a given government program in mind, and thus ensure that eligibility will not be disturbed. The spendthrift trust operates much like a special needs trust, but addresses the situation where the beneficiary who might otherwise inherit a substantial sum lacks the judgment or practical ability to use the assets responsibly.
In some cases, the beneficiary’s youth or inexperience might make a trust created for a person age 25 or 30 advisable. In other cases, a history of substance abuse or emotional problems might indicate the need for a trust. Our firm is here to protect you and those you love. Contact us today and learn more about our ability to address and resolve your estate planning needs using special needs trusts.
Guardianship & Conservatorship Proceedings
A Guardianship is a court proceeding to appoint a person to manage the personal affairs of an incapacitated person, including that person’s medical care and long term care placement. A Conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a person or institution to manage the financial affairs of an incapacitated person. Our experienced elder law attorneys understand how painful it is to face an elderly parent or loved one’s progressive loss of independence due to poor health, dementia, Alzheimer’s or other medical condition. Our elder law attorneys help families with a range of questions related to incompetence, guardianship and conservatorship and arranging protection for a loved one who cannot look after himself or herself.
We are familiar with the range of circumstances that can lead a family to consider guardianship or conservatorship as a way to protect a loved one with declining judgment or cognitive faculties. We can assist with petitioning the court to appoint you or another person as a guardian who assumes responsibility for an incompetent ward’s personal care, financial affairs or both. Because of the relative expense and administrative burdens of a formal guardianship and conservatorship, we will first work with you to see whether the goals of a guardianship or conservatorship can be accomplished by less restrictive means. We will also work with your family to defuse any potential problems between groups who support a guardianship and conservatorship and those who oppose it.
Additionally, we work with guardians and conservators who have questions about the proper discharge of their fiduciary duties, as well as with family members who are concerned about the performance of the guardian and conservator who has been appointed in their case. Our firm is here to protect you and those you love. Contact us today for experienced and compassionate advice about your situation.
Income Cap Trust
An Income Cap Trust is a special type of trust for those individuals trapped in the gap of having too much income to qualify for Medicaid and too little income to pay privately for the costs of long term care. The only purpose of the Income Cap Trust is to solve this particular problem. Our firm is here to protect you and those you love. Contact us today and let us help you.
Asset protection is a field that covers many different techniques, including estate tax reduction techniques, trusts, domestic asset protection trusts, and Medicaid trusts.
There are many other ways to protect assets without using a trust, such as putting assets in a spouse’s name. For example, a wife who is not considered “at risk” could hold assets for a physician, CPA, or an attorney.
The technique could also be as simple as using qualified plan assets, such as a 401(k) and a profit sharing plan, which are exempt from bankruptcy proceedings.
Even an IRA is exempt from a bankruptcy proceeding for an account balance up to $1,000,000.
Asset protection also deals with protecting your family assets from the cost of long-term nursing home care. Revocable Medicaid trusts, VA asset protection trusts, commercial and private annuities may be utilized to protect your assets from the cost of long-term care. This type of asset protection is typically part of our long term care planning services. We explain methods by which you can legally preserve your assets and still qualify for Medicaid and Veterans benefits.
Advance Directive for Health Care
An Advance Directive is a written, legal document which allows you to appoint another person, called a Health Care Representative to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. It also allows you to instruct your physician on whether or not you wish to be given life sustaining treatment, such as tube feeding.
Unfortunately, it is fact of life that at any moment a health crisis could leave us incapacitated, without the ability to communicate our desires to loved ones, doctors, or other officials. The Advance Directive allows a trusted person, often a family member, to make medical decisions on an incapacitated person’s behalf. Without such a document in place it would be necessary for an interested person to petition the court to appoint a Guardian over the incapacitated person. Oregon Guardianships are time consuming, costly, and stressful. And, because other interested parties can contest the appointment of a particular person as the Guardian, such appointments are often contentious. Everyone over the age of 18 should have an Advance Directive for Health Care.
Any capable person over the age of 18 can make an Advance Directive. This can be done at any time but is often done as part of the estate planning process. Once signed, the Advance Directive is valid until you die or until you revoke it. Your Advance Directive can be revoked at any time as long as you have capacity to do so.
Oregon has a specific statutory Advance Directive form for appointing a health care representative and making medical decisions. You can obtain this statutory form from many health care facilities, including your doctor’s office or hospital, and other organizations. While you do not need an attorney to complete the Advance Directive form, it can be helpful to have one of our experienced Elder Law attorneys explain the Advance Directive and discuss various options for completing the form. There is no charge for having us assist you in completing the Advance Directive when done as part of your overall estate planning.
Having an Advance Directive and having a meaningful discussion with your doctor and family about your health care wishes and end of life decisions is the best strategy to making sure that your wishes are carried out.
Protecting the Family Estate
Many clients want to ensure that the assets they pass down to their children or grandchildren do not go to a spouse in a divorce or go to pay off creditors in a bankruptcy. With proper asset protection planning, you can preserve your legacy for the beneficiaries you choose. Through the use of a trust or an LLC, we can ensure that these assets do not disappear due to divorce, bankruptcy or lawsuits.
You have worked hard for the money you’ve earned and assets you own, and now is the time to properly safeguard and protect those assets from any unfortunate events that may befall you in the future. Please take a minute to explore our site and the various techniques available to you to protect your assets and then contact us to arrange an appointment regarding your particular asset protection planning needs. We are here to protect you and those you love.
Power of Attorney
The “durable power-of-attorney” is one of the most powerful planning tools that an attorney can recommend to a client, not only for estate planning, but also for Medicaid and other entitlement programs.
When a person (the principal) signs a power-of-attorney, he gives another person (the agent) the power to act in his place and on his behalf in managing his assets and affairs. This person is known as your “agent” or your “attorney-in-fact.”
A power-of-attorney can be either a “general” power-of-attorney, where the agent may perform almost any act the principal might have performed himself regarding the financial management of his affairs, or a “limited” power-of-attorney where the agent has one or more specific powers, such as the power to sell a particular property to a particular purchaser at a particular time. The power you give your agent can be as wide or as narrow as you desire. It is important to discuss with your attorney what powers you wish to confer on your agent. An experienced Elder Law attorney understands and can advise you about what powers are necessary for asset management and long term care planning, especially when managing the assets of a seriously ill or disabled person.
A durable power of attorney simply means that the power of attorney survives incapacity allowing the agent to continue to act your behalf even if you lose capacity. The great advantage of the durable power-of-attorney is that, if the principal becomes incapacitated, the agent can act immediately to manage his assets. Too often we see the situation where a person fails to plan for incapacity and the incapacitated person’s spouse or family member has to initiate a conservatorship proceedings to obtain the court’s authorization to manage the incapacitated person’s affairs. The conservatorship process is costly, time consuming, and can often be contentious
A well drafted, Durable Power of Attorney is an essential part of any estate plan. Allow our experienced Elder Law attorneys to assist you with your estate planning needs.
After the death of a loved one, you may find yourself facing a roller coaster of emotions that will inevitably take you time to work through and process.
At McGinty, Belcher & Hamilton Attorneys, we strive to ensure that the estate administration process, also known as probate, is as easy as possible for the representative, as well as the beneficiaries.
Despite the sense of loss and grief that you are feeling, if you are the representative of your loved ones estate, you have a legal duty to ensure that your loved one’s estate is administered according to Oregon law and in a timely matter.
What is probate & how is it initiated?
Probate is the court supervised process for proving the validity of a Will (if there is a Will), settling the final affairs of the deceased’s estate and transferring property. If the deceased individual died without a Will, the process is still monitored by the Court; however, instead of settling the estate in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, the estate is administered according to Oregon law. The personal representative or executor of the Will is responsible for initiating the process and for retaining an attorney. If there is no Will, a relative, friend, or interested person may seek to be appointed as the legal representative. Unless clearly stated within the deceased’s Will, the court will require the representative to be bonded.
What takes place during the probate process?
A petition must be filed with the court seeking the legal appointment of a representative. If the deceased died with a Will and named a personal representative, despite what most people think, the representative has no legal authority to act on behalf of the deceased or the deceased’s estate until they have been legally appointed by the court. After a personal representative has been appointed, notice must be given to beneficiaries and any potential creditor.
A notice must also be published in the newspaper to ensure that any interested person may be given the opportunity to file any claim they may have against the deceased person’s estate. Once the personal representative has been appointed and notice has been given, the personal representative must fulfill his or her duties, including, but not limited to:
- Collecting, valuing and providing to the court an inventory of assets subject to probate (This includes keeping the court informed of any newly discovered assets or change assets)
- Properly determining if a creditor claim is valid and resolving valid claims
- Preparing and filing on time the final income tax return for the deceased, any outstanding tax returns and a fiduciary return, if necessary
- Preparation and filing of an accounting (This must be done annually, or until such time that the estate is ready for final distribution)
- Resolve potential disagreements among beneficiaries
Do you need an attorney?
Although it is possible to initiate the probate process on your own, it is strongly recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney who has experience with these types of matters. While the short summary above lists some of the basic legal steps that must be taken by the legal representative, probate is complex and the process can be unnecessarily lengthened and delayed without proper assistance and guidance. If handled incorrectly, it can also result in the representative being held personally liable.
Many people want to avoid probate altogether and look for ways to ensure their estate does not go through probate. A living trust is one of the most commonly used tools for bypassing probate. Also, placing assets in joint ownership or designating beneficiaries on certain assets can avoid probate. However, unless done correctly, these probate avoidance techniques can lead to misunderstandings about who is entitled to these nonprobate assets, as they are called, and can lead to unintended consequences. One issue that often gets overlooked or neglected is who should pay the decedent’s expenses. These are typically paid from the probate estate. When all or most of an estate passes outside of probate, there may not be enough money allocated for expenses.
If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one, allow our compassionate, experienced, and knowledgeable team to skillfully navigate you through the probate process. We are also here to assist you with your own estate planning and help you to avoid probate and the expense related to probate. Contact our office today and schedule your free initial consultation.
How much does probate cost?
The cost of probate varies depending upon the complexity of the estate. Most attorneys, like our office, charge an hourly rate which is paid from the deceased’s estate at the end of the probate process. At McGinty, Belcher & Hamilton Attorneys, we allocate tasks associated to the management of each estate among the firm’s attorneys and staff to ensure that our clients are provided with quality, economical, and efficient service.
- Living Will
- Power of Attorney for Health Care
- Advance Directive for Health Care
- Health Care Representative
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Agent or Attorney-in-Fact
A “Living Will” used to be called, in Oregon, a Directive to Physicians. A Living Will contains instructions about the withholding or withdrawing of life sustaining treatment if the person executing the Living Will becomes terminally ill. A Living Will is only good for 7 years from the date of execution and then it expires.
This document allows you to name another person as your agent to make your health care decisions if you are unable to do so. A Power of Attorney for Health Care is only good for 7 years from the date of execution and then it expires.
An Advance Directive for Health Care is a form of medical directive that combines both the power of attorney and living will and, unlike the Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will, it does not expire after 7 years but can last for your entire life. In 1993, Oregon replaced the Power of Attorney for Health Care and Living Will with the Advance Directive for Health Care. The Advance Directive for Health Care can be customized to meet your individual needs and allows you to make specific instructions about your health care wishes and also give specific instructions to your physician about life support measures.
A person named in your Advance Directive for Health Care who can make medical decisions for you if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.
A Durable Power of Attorney is a document that allows you to appoint another person to serve as your agent and take care of necessary financial, banking, tax, legal, and other matters if you are unable to do so. This power of attorney is called “durable” because it remains effective even though you may become incapacitated and can last your entire lifetime.
An Agent or Attorney-in-Fact is the person named in your Power of Attorney to manage your finances and make financial decisions for your if you are no longer able to manage your own finances.
A Guardianship is a court proceeding to appoint a person to manage the personal affairs of an incapacitated person, including that person’s medical care and long term care placement.
A Conservatorship is a court proceeding to appoint a person or institution to manage the financial affairs of an incapacitated person.
A person is incapacitated when that person’s ability to manage his or her affairs is impaired to the point that they can no longer meet the essential requirements for health and safety, that is: taking actions necessary to provide the health care, food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene, and other necessary care, without which serious physical injury or illness is likely to occur.
A person whom the court has found incapacitated and for whom a guardian or conservator has been appointed by the court.
- Hospital insurance (Part A)
- Medical insurance (Part B)
- Medicare Advantage (Part C)
- Prescription drug coverage (Part D)
Medicare is our country’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older. Certain people younger than age 65 can qualify for Medicare, too, including those who have disabilities and those who have permanent kidney failure or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). The program helps with the cost of health care, but it does not cover all medical expenses or the cost of most long-term care. Medicare has four parts, Hospital insurance (Part A), Medical insurance (Part B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), and Prescription drug coverage (Part D).
Helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (following a hospital stay), some home health care and hospice care.
Helps pay for doctors’ services and many other medical services and supplies that are not covered by hospital insurance.
Formerly known as Medicare + Choice plans are available in many areas. People with Medicare Parts A and B can choose to receive all of their health care services through one of these provider organizations under Part C.
Helps pay for medications doctors prescribe for treatment.
Medicaid is a joint Federal-State program created to assist people to obtain better access to health care. Each state operates its own Medicaid system, but this system must conform to federal guidelines in order for the state to receive federal money. The Federal government pays for about half the state’s Medicaid costs. The eligibility rules are somewhat different from state to state since each state administers its own Medicaid program, and the rules keep changing.
In Oregon, Medicaid only applies to certain groups who meet both an income test and resource test. These groups are people that are: Age 65 or older; disabled according to Social Security definitions; Blind; Institutionalized in a hospital or nursing facility; or receiving SSI. To be financially eligible, a person applying for Medicaid cannot have more than $2,199.00 per month in gross income (year 2015) and cannot have more than $2,000 in resources.
An Income Cap Trust is a special type of trust for those individuals trapped in the gap of having too much income to qualify for Medicaid and too little income to pay privately for the costs of long-term care. The only purpose of the Income Cap Trust is to solve this particular problem.
A Special Needs Trusts also known as a Supplemental Needs Trusts is usually created by a parent or other family member for a disabled “child” (even though the “child” may be an adult). The disabled individual can also create the trust with his or her own money provided the trust meets certain requirements. These latter trusts are sometimes called “(d)(4)(A)” trusts after the authorizing statute. The funds in these trusts will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining his or her own Medicaid eligibility if the trust is properly structured.