Medi-Cal is California’s state Medicaid program that extends health coverage to lower-income individuals, pregnant women, seniors, and other groups, including childless adults whose incomes are below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Many different individuals make use of Medi-Cal; estimates have shown that around one-third of Californians use Medi-Cal.
A common usage of Medi-Cal is for seniors to pay for long-term care, which can be extremely expensive. No doubt, this program is crucial for many California seniors, but there can be certain drawbacks. For instance:
- After you or your spouse passes away, the terms of Medi-Cal generally allow for the state to seize assets from your estate to recoup the money it paid out for your medical bills.
- Medi-Cal is only offered to seniors whose estate is valued under a certain amount. In other words, if your estate is worth more than the threshold, you will not be eligible to receive assistance paying for your nursing home expenses and other long-term care.
- Even if your house and other large assets, for instance, are transferred to your children upon you or your spouse’s death, then creditors from Medi-Cal may still take the property.
So, what’s the solution? One way you can both protect your assets and help secure your eligibility for Medi-Cal is to create a Medi-Cal Protection Trust.
What is a Medi-Cal Protection Trust?
First, let’s go over the definition of a trust. A trust is an estate-planning tool used by many Americans; it is, essentially, a document in which you can place certain assets, like your home and other pieces of real property. Within the trust, you designate a representative who will handle the items in the trust according to your instructions or wishes. Depending on the type of trust (revocable or irrevocable), you may be able to change it during your lifetime. However, it must be noted that a Medi-Cal trust is irrevocable.
Essentially, this type of trust solves the problems we highlighted above. As long as you follow certain rules, you will unlock the benefits of Medi-Cal while protecting your assets for your surviving spouse, children, and loved ones. After all, you spent decades paying off your home; you should take care to make sure it cannot be taken away from your beneficiaries.
A Medi-cal Protection Trust is a particularly useful tool for individuals planning ahead for medical costs typically associated with seniors, but there are numerous protocols that must be followed in order to enjoy the full range of benefits offered by this estate-planning tool. Therefore, it is imperative to retain the services of a serious and experienced California estate-planning attorney.
Call our firm soon at 909-256-6702 so we can discuss your options and help secure your financial future.