When you are going on an adventurous journey, you try to anticipate the challenges you may face, and you prepare accordingly. The same dynamic can be applied to aging, and when you think pragmatically, you can adapt as the years pass.
Aging in Place
The term “aging in place” has gained a lot of traction over recent years, and it is a simple phrase that is largely self-explanatory. Most senior citizens will need some type of help with their activities of daily living, and this is simply a fact of life, but many families can respond effectively.
When you need assistance with your activities of daily living, you do not necessarily have to leave the comfort and familiarity of your own home. You can adapt the features to make your life easier, and the modifications can be minor, or they can be significant.
These are some of the modifications that can be made:
- Rails and grab bars
- Walk-in bathtubs and showers
- Showering benches
- Automated door openers
- Intelligent lighting
- Oversized fixtures
- Chairlifts and home elevators
- Traction flooring with smooth surfaces
In some cases, a senior will move into a family member’s home to simplify the caregiving. Under these circumstances, a customized in-law suite can be constructed with all of the necessary features.
There are some sources of financial assistance for these are modifications. You may be able to secure a low interest loan, and there are home-improvement grants and equipment loans.
Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver
At some point in time, the level of care that is needed may exceed the capabilities of family members. A home health aide can be engaged under these circumstances, and there are professionals with different levels of expertise.
Of course, this type of assistance is quite expensive. According to a survey that was conducted by Genworth Financial, the median annual charge for a home health aide in Los Angeles was $66,352 in 2020.
Medicare does not pay for long-term custodial care, but Medi-Cal will cover a stay in a nursing home, and there is also a Medi-Cal Assisted Living Waiver program. It will pay for a home health aide if you can gain eligibility, but there is a low $2000 asset limit.
That’s the bad news, but the good news is that some things do not count. Your home is not a countable asset, and there is no equity limit in California. The equity factor is a major positive, because there are equity limits in other states.
One vehicle, household items, personal effects, wedding and engagement rings, and heirloom jewelry are not counted. Prepaid burial plots are exempt along with unlimited term life insurance and $1500 of whole life insurance, and you can have $1500 saved for funeral expenses.
To get countable assets out of your name, you could convey resources into a Medi-Cal trust. You would not be able to touch the principal, but you could receive income that is generated by assets in the trust until you apply for Medi-Cal coverage.
We should also point out the fact that you can qualify if you own a home, but Medi-Cal could place a lien on it after your death. To account for this, you could convey your home into the trust.
Timing is important, because the assets must be conveyed into the trust at least 30 months before you apply for Medi-Cal.
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Need Help Now?
If you have already learned enough to know that you should work with a Los Angeles estate planning attorney to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 310-337-7696.