Medicaid Planning Mistakes
Medicaid Planning Mistakes

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Common Mistakes


Giving away assets too early

First, it’s your money (or your house, or both). Make sure you take care of yourself first. Don’t put your security at risk by putting it in the hands of your children. Precipitous transfers can cause difficult tax and Medicaid problems as well.

Ignoring important safe harbors created by Congress

Certain transfers are allowable without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility. These include: transfers to disabled children, caretaker children, certain siblings and into trust for anyone who is disabled and under age 65; a transfer to a “pay-back” trust if under age 65; and a transfer to a pooled disability trust at any age.

Failing to take advantage of protections for the spouse of a nursing home resident

These protections include the purchase of an immediate annuity, petitioning for an increased community spouse resource allowance, and in some instances petitioning for an increased income allowance or refusing to cooperate with the nursing home spouse’s Medicaid application.

Applying for Medicaid too early

This can result in a longer ineligibility period in some instances.

Applying for Medicaid too late

This can mean the loss of many months of eligibility.

Not getting expert help

This is a complicated field that most people deal with only once in their lives. Tens of thousands of dollars are at stake. It’s penny wise and pound foolish not to consult with an Elder Law Attorney who make their living guiding clients through the medicaid trust planning process.

Confusion about the difference between lifetime liens on property and estate recovery

There are a number of exceptions to lifetime liens on property, but for estate recovery there is only a deferral for a surviving spouse and a hardship waiver.

Advance Planning


Advance planning options are available to people who have the wisdom to use them.  This can be used to protect both the home and other assets, including investments, for your spouse, children or other heirs after your death.

Medicaid Estate Recovery forces the sale of things, like your home, that you own when you die. So one way people try to avoid the recovery program is to give things away before they die.

People sometimes try to protect their homes from nursing home costs and estate recovery by giving the home outright to their children. They plan to rely on their children to “do the right thing.”

While this strategy may ultimately protect the home from Medicaid Estate Recovery, it carries many risks. It’s not as simple as it seems. One problem is that deeding your home to your children will make you ineligible for Medicaid for a long period of time. You may have no way to pay for that care. In some states, maybe Wyoming, maybe not, there are filial responsibility laws, the nursing home can then sue your children who may end up being personally responsible to pay for your care. Protect your assets from medicaid with a properly formed trust.

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Cloud Peak Law Group

203 S Main St #3000 Sheridan, WY 82801

1901 Energy Court #319, Gillette, Wyoming 82718

307-674-1604