As modern lifespans edge upward, celebrating 80th, 90th, and even 100th birthdays, Shawn Weera notes a related increase in the need for long-term care and assisted living. Such arrangements for an elderly spouse or family member often put funds at considerable risk due to the high cost of satisfactory care, fast approaching $100,000 annually. After working for a lifetime to secure comfortable, carefree golden years, Weera cautions clients to plan ahead to protect and preserve wealth when facing astronomical bills associated with elder care expenses. Using Medicaid planning as an important tool to fine tune client portfolios, Weera encourages advance preparation of a safe financial harbor.
Strategies can be complicated, requiring deep understanding of the requirements and regulations stated in Medicaid qualification as well as the legal principles in documents like the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. First and foremost, Weera urges the engagement of a certified elder law attorney with significant knowledge in estate planning, filial support laws, and countable vs. non-countable resources before considering any financial moves. Critical details involving timing, selection of investments, and state laws in addition to federal regulations, must be carefully observed in order to achieve maximum asset conservation. As long-term care and nursing home costs are not covered by Medicare, planning for the effects of these expenses to financial status is essential.
Shawn Weera‘s individual approach, unique to each family situation, carefully considers a range of plans to identify only the most appropriate. Employing Medicaid as a planning tool, with suggested spend-down purchases lowering non-exempt assets, helps qualify some elderly patients for assistance. Paying off debts, credit cards, expenses, and pre-paying real estate taxes all work toward that end. While not usually appropriate for Medicaid planning, liquidating capital to a carefully chosen annuity can, in certain cases, turn holdings into income, ensuring a comfortable lifestyle while providing for adequate care of the ailing spouse. Identifying a non-assignable, non-transferrable annuity that satisfies regulations and avoids penalties can be very helpful, but Weera notes that this option requires meticulous oversight by a trusted expert. Additionally, leveraging long term care insurance may be a possibility if planning far enough in advance.
Qualification for Medicaid is complicated. Which items are exempt from consideration? Which are not? What is CSRA? Questions like these are the area of expertise for Shawn Weera, JD, MFP, and President of Shawn Weera & Associates in Grand Rapids, MI. With nearly two decades of legal experience, a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a Juris Doctor degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, MI, Weera is highly qualified to make Medicare planning an important part of a personal acquisition strategy. A member of the Grand Rapids Bar Association, Weera is also a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.