Did you know that May is both National Elder Law Month and National Older American Month? This is an important time of year to ensure our aging Florida seniors have the support they need.

Are you aware of the importance of Florida seniors knowing that if they need nursing home care, they can reach out to a qualified Florida elder law attorney who can help? A qualified Florida elder law attorney knows the cost structure of nursing home care and can help Florida seniors protect a lifetime of savings from being completely used up by the cost of care.

Let us discuss three ways to prevent aging Florida seniors from losing their life savings to a nursing home.

1. Early Planning is Key. The most important thing Florida seniors can do to preserve their life savings may be to start planning for the future well in advance of when those plans need to begin. First, meet with a qualified Florida elder law attorney as soon as possible to engage in long-term care planning.

2. Know the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid. Are you a Florida senior planning for Medicare to cover the cost of a nursing home? Unfortunately, Medicare typically only covers 100 days of nursing home care. As a Florida senior if you qualify for Medicaid, then the Medicaid program in Florida will take over when Medicare benefits are no longer enough. Medicaid will cover nursing home costs for qualified Florida seniors for as long as they need it. Is there a catch to this news? Yes. Medicaid rules will require Florida seniors to spend down most of their life savings prior to qualifying for the program. Also, Medicaid will look back over the past 5 years and see what was held in assets, and what the income and expenses were during this time period.

3. Planning Should Stay 5 Years Ahead. Remember, as a Florida aging senior, a qualified Florida elder law attorney can help you plan around this 5-year “lookback” rule to protect your life savings. Your attorney may decide the best way to do this may be to ensure that your assets are transferred out of your estate prior to the 60 months before you need nursing home care. Since the need for this care may be on the horizon, it may be best to start planning early. Your attorney can work with you to figure out the best approach.

We know you may have questions about this, and many other, elder care issues. At the Perlin Estate Planning & Probate our credentials enable us to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to our legal services. By building relationships with our clients, we are also able to understand each client’s needs and desires, and we support such goals through thoughtful, comprehensive planning techniques. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.