AP is planning to protect assets from creditors, litigation, divorce, market downturns, nursing home spend down, faster spend down of assets in lower interest rate environments, etc. Proper estate planning should include some forms of AP. One area that we are asked to help with is preserving as much of a nest egg as possible for care in the future. Many times AP can protect some or all of the assets for a surviving spouse in the case one spouse passes and the surviving spouse needs care. If all of the money is spent on the first spouse, the surviving spouse has either no or limited options.
Too many families spend down their assets faster than they have to. A proper income plan can also protect assets. Effective tax planning can protect assets too. Proper asset titling can protect assets along with proper beneficiary designations.
Asset protection for a single person can also ensure money for options down the road. If a single person or married couple properly plan for their future years, they can make sure that there are funding options if one or both would need to go to a nursing home for an extended period of time. The government allows you to do certain things to protect your assets. If you don’t work with an advisor that knows these things, you will spend more money than needed, reducing or eliminating potential options when needed in the future.
AP should be part of an effective estate plan. This planning needs to be done 5 years or more before the need for a skilled nursing home arises and the application for government assistance takes place. Government assistance (or Medicaid) is for those with limited resources. The do allow for a division of assets protecting slightly more than $115,000 or half of the asset base, whichever is less. You may also protect money needed to pay for funerals, up to $10,500 per person in Westmoreland County, Pa. (as of January 2014). Each state and county may be different and the numbers can change. Check with your local Department of Public Welfare for current amounts, or call us to find out.
Integrity Estate Advisors can provide funeral trusts to protect this money. There is no charge for the actual trust, it is included in the policy. Funeral trusts are not a resource when you apply for Medicaid, so you know there will be enough money available for burial expenses and the burden won’t be on the family members.