Elder Law and MassHealth Planning Information

More people than ever before are facing the distinct possibility that they may require long-term skilled nursing care. These individuals have spent their entire lives working hard, paying taxes, paying down their mortgage and building retirement savings. We work equally hard to ensure that our clients' hard-earned assets are protected. Here is how we do it:

Prepare estate plans with critical MassHealth planning authority

Our Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) includes broad powers that an attorney-in-fact must have in order to conduct MassHealth planning on behalf of elders who do not have capacity to make financial decisions. If you do not have this power, and the elder does not have capacity to execute a new DPOA, we offer quick, cost-effective solutions so that you may conduct MassHealth planning.

Maximize your ability to stay in your home with the care you need

We help clients configure their income, assets and equity in their home so they can best secure the health care they need to stay in their home for as long as possible. Where appropriate, we work with investment advisers, accountants, geriatric care managers, and social workers to meet this objective.

Save the primary residence

Our clients want to keep their homes in the family and minimize or eliminate the chance that MassHealth will place a lien on the home. Our elder law planning techniques can help protect your primary residence.

Strategic spend down of MassHealth applicant's assets

While a spend down is required to become eligible for MassHealth benefits, we help you spend down on goods and services that will benefit you and your family. Others may have told you that you must spend all of your assets on the nursing home; our strategic spend down techniques offer a whole new world of valuable options.

Prepare the MassHealth application

The burdensome, confusing application can overwhelm families struggling with long-term nursing care issues. Worse still, if a family submits the application inaccurately or incompletely, MassHealth may reject the application. We take the burden off your shoulders, prepare all of the paperwork and supporting documentation, and do everything necessary to secure MassHealth benefits.

Work with families and children of elders

If you are caring for a parent or other family member, you want the peace of mind that your loved one is in good hands. Each step of the way, you will know exactly what actions we are taking, what goals we are achieving, and how your loved one is served by those strategies. Our services are especially appreciated by out-of-town children of local elders.

Prepare MassHealth analysis reports

Many of our healthy clients are anxious because of the unknown. With our detailed MassHealth analysis report, we empower clients with (1) the knowledge of current MassHealth regulations as they apply to that client's assets, (2) the planning options the client should consider for the future, and (3) the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Our clients sleep better at night because the "unknown" has become a lot more predictable, and their assets and health are better protected.

For more information about long-term nursing care and MassHealth planning, please read below:

When an elder requires long-term skilled nursing care in a nursing facility, the elder and his or her family learns the cruel truth that the elder must spend down most or all of his or her assets before he or she can qualify for MassHealth benefits. Without proper legal planning, MassHealth may require that real estate be sold, retirement accounts cashed in, stocks liquidated, and insurance policies redeemed. The resulting cash proceeds must be spent down on nursing care. This is a tremendous blow to families dealing with the stress of transitioning a loved one to a nursing facility.

We offer a solution. We can help you and your family minimize the spend down of your assets, maximize the protection and preservation of your assets, and secure MassHealth benefits. It is never to early or too late for MassHealth planning. Of course, the earlier you plan, the more effectively we may preserve and protect your assets.

We work to take the burden of securing MassHealth benefits off of your shoulders so that you may focus on more important things like your health or that of your loved one, choosing a nursing home, and spending time with your family. We will prepare the complicated, lengthy application paperwork, secure and organize the extensive documentation required by law to support an application, and work with the appointed MassHealth caseworker to secure approval of your application.

In addition, we will work to preserve and protect your real estate, your assets, and your income. To the extent that funds must be spent down, we will help guide your spend down on goods and services that will directly benefit you, your spouse and loved ones. Our MassHealth planning is fully authorized under the law and is performed with full disclosure to MassHealth. Indeed, Massachusetts law provides that an individual has a right to engage in MassHealth planning and the Courts have endorsed such planning. We have saved numerous clients their homes and many hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Unfortunately, many people do not realize the enormous expense of long-term skilled nursing care and the draconian eligibility requirements for MassHealth benefits. Consider these facts:

  • 40% of Americans over age 60 will face admission to an assisted-living facility or nursing home.
  • A shared room in a nursing home in our hometown of Wakefield can run upwards of $315 a day and $115,000 per year. These figures are for 2005. Can you imagine the cost in another five years?
  • The average stay of a resident in a nursing home is 2.5 years. Thus, the average expense can total more than $285,000 not including the cost of health insurance premiums and prescriptions drugs.
  • A single individual does not qualify for MassHealth benefits until they have less than $2,000 of countable assets.
  • With our guidance and assistance, you can protect your health and assets so that you are prepared for an unpredictable future.