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For Debate: Medicaid Planning

A New York Times ‘Your Money’ column ran in late July that focused on the ethics of end of life planning that involves shifting assets to qualify for Medicaid. According to the author, Ron Lieber, his previous post on the topic was met with equal parts outrage and support. It brings up an important and sobering point: one day our parents, spouses, siblings and even ourselves, will likely require some sort of skilled nursing care as we age. Whether that takes place within our own four walls or in a long term care facility, the looming question is how to pay for that care when the time comes. For many who have sacrificed and saved their whole lives with the hope of passing assets to loved ones (be it in the form of cash, businesses or other assets), the thought of spending and liquidating everything to pay for their own care is devastating.

There is an entire area of law devoted to assisting clients in rearranging their assets so as to qualify for Medicaid, the government program that among other things, covers long term care costs for elder Americans of limited financial means. Whatever your own thoughts are on the issue, the comments from those in support of and those against the practice of Medicaid planning are worth reading. We encourage you to read the article to decide for yourself.