Facing the inevitable

(The following is a dramatization.)

Mr. Johnson, a man living in the Charlotte area who has always prided himself on his independence, has received some shattering news. He is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Within the next few years, he will most likely lose the ability to look after himself. In the best-case scenario, he will need to move into an assisted living center. Quite apart from the terrible loss of personal autonomy and dignity he faces, there is the simple fact that he can’t afford a nursing home and will have to go on Medicaid to pay for it.

Mr. Johnson has two children, one of whom is looking for work and the other of whom is working two jobs to put his own children through college. Neither one of them can spare the time and money to take care of him.

So he has a long talk with his second wife. She has a full-time job and is not qualified to serve as a caretaker, but neither can she afford to finance him staying in a nursing home for any length of time. She is desperately worried that if he goes on Medicaid to pay for a nursing home, both of them will be ruined by income and resource limitations.

Learning about Medicaid law

In his attempts to study Medicaid law, he learns that his wife will be able to keep a minimum monthly maintenance allowance of at least $1,991.25 of their combined incomes — but is there a way to keep more? There will be limits to his own income that cover some sources of income, but not others. If he goes into a nursing home, he and his wife will be able to keep $10,000 worth of life insurance, but if he only needs an assisted living center, they will only be able to keep $1,500. This doesn’t answer the question of what happens if he first needs an assisted living center, then a nursing home — does he get the money back?

So Mr. Johnson seeks out a Medicaid attorney. This is someone who understands Medicaid law and how to get the most advantage out of it.

An expert in Medicaid law in Gastonia, NC

Medicaid law is a very complicated subject. If you want to protect your assets when applying for Medicaid, it is a good idea to find a Medicaid attorney who understands the subject and can help you get the most advantage out of the law, and to do so years before you actually need Medicaid. Robert C. Whitt is a Gastonia attorney, servicing the areas of Gastonia, Charlotte, Mount Holly and Gaston, Mecklenburg, Lincoln Counties and surrounding communities. He focuses on wills, trusts and other aspects of elder law. Call and make an appointment today.

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