With the recent find of a $1 million in gold coins while scuba diving, I was reminded of a story someone once told me. Their father had several hundred thousands of dollars in coins. Many years ago he had created a trust to protect his hard earned money from nursing home poverty, but he chose not to put the coins into his trust. When the time came to apply for Medicaid, his family was faced with either telling the truth about the coins as one of his countable assets, or intentionally omitting them in the Medicaid application. If Medicaid was made aware of it, the family would have to spend those funds on nursing home care before Medicaid would cover the nursing home expenses.
The consequence of not disclosing the asset to Medicaid could result in fraud charges against the family members that completed the application. All the gentleman had to do to protect his coins was to include them in his irrevocable trust. Now, his family was faced with losing a valuable treasured family heirloom, or potential prison time if they were caught withholding information about a countable asset.
It is easy to list valuable assets like jewelry, paintings, coins, guns, and have them protected in an irrevocable trust for Medicaid planning purposes. To do anything else is to knowingly accept the risk of losing the asset. Make sure when you plan to protect your life savings from nursing home poverty, you consult a reputable estate planning attorney. To learn more, go to www.twestateplanning.law. To register for one of our estate planning seminars in cities throughout North Carolina, call (888) 787-1913.