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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Medicaid Planning

Trusts and Estates Attorney Assisting Nashville Residents

There are often many aspects of a well-considered, efficiently executed estate plan. In Tennessee, one point of consideration for many estate plans is Medicaid planning. The costs of long-term care, especially in a nursing home or assisted living center, may be staggering, quickly depleting an individual or couple’s lifetime savings and other assets. Fortunately for people who are not yet in need of such care, there are some estate planning tools that may be used to maximize benefits available through not only private insurance but also government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid (called “TennCare” in Tennessee). However, the guidance of an estate planning attorney may be vital in exploring the full scope of your options. Knowledgeable Nashville Medicaid planning lawyer Randy Ratliff can help you review your particular situation.

In Tennessee Medicaid operates under the name “TennCare.” Through TennCare the State of Tennessee provides managed health care for certain groups of lower-income individuals, including some older adults and people with physical disabilities. About one in every five Tennesseans are currently enrolled in TennCare. For people who qualify, TennCare may help pay for nursing home care, home care, and other long-term services and support for the elderly and disabled. Although TennCare got off to a rough start when it was first introduced back in the early 1990s, it is now a $11.3 billion per year program that provides health care benefits for some 1.5 million people.

How Medicaid Planning Affects a Tennessee Resident’s Estate Plan

While Medicaid under TennCare is a state and federally funded program, in Tennessee like most states, TennCare is not available to everyone. Instead, only people who qualify under its many rules and regulations are entitled to payment of benefits under the program. Many of the eligibility categories are directed at children, pregnant women, people who are already in institutionalized care, or people who are uninsured or uninsurable. For the rest, eligibility for benefits is largely determined by two factors: monthly income and other resources. A person who “makes too much” will not qualify, nor will someone who has considerable assets (including bank accounts, real estate, and automobiles) that, according to the policy behind the program, an individual or family should deplete before seeking government assistance.

A Medicaid planning attorney in the Nashville area can explain the details of qualifying for TennCare/Medicaid based on your financial situation, as well as explain possible ways to protect at least some of your assets should nursing home or other long-term care be necessary for your spouse or you at some point in the future. An attorney can also help with other estate planning needs, such as a last will and testament, a living will, a health care directive, or a trust (including both testamentary trusts and inter vivos trusts, both revocable and irrevocable), as well as asset protection for your small business.

It is important to talk to a qualified professional about your estate planning while you are still in good health, if at all possible. The transfer of assets, while an effective method of maximizing the benefits available through TennCare or other government programs, may be subject to a “look-back” period. Transfers for less than full market value during this time (which may be several years in some cases) may disqualify a would-be applicant from eligibility for the program.

Contact a Nashville Lawyer for Your Medicaid Planning Needs

Thinking about one’s future medical needs and the dispersion of one’s estate may be difficult, especially in complex family situations or when business ownership is involved. Still, avoiding considering these matters and planning accordingly will not prevent the inevitable. It will only make matters more difficult for family members later, and it may lead to a considerable amount of waste – taxes that might have been avoided, costly legal battles, and the loss of the opportunity to keep hard-earned assets in the family. To talk to a knowledgeable and compassionate Nashville Medicaid planning attorney, call the Randy Ratliff Law Offices at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. We serve all of Davidson and Williamson Counties, including people who need a Medicaid qualification attorney in Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs.