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One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial price. Depending on location and level of care, nursing homes cost between $40,000 and $180,000 a year.

Most people end up paying for nursing home care out of their savings until they run out. Then they can qualify for Medicaid to pick up the cost. The advantages of paying privately are that you are more likely to gain entrance to a better quality facility and doing so eliminates or postpones dealing with your state's welfare bureaucracy--an often demeaning and time-consuming process. The disadvantage is that it's expensive.

Careful planning, whether in advance or in response to an unanticipated need for care, can help protect your estate, whether for your spouse or for your children. This can be done by purchasing long-term care insurance or by making sure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Veterans may also seek benefits from the Veterans Administration.

Those who are not in immediate need of long-term care may have the luxury of distributing or protecting their assets in advance. This way, when they do need long-term care, they will quickly qualify for Medicaid benefits. Giving general rules for so-called "Medicaid planning" is difficult because every client's case is different. Some have more savings or income than others. Some are married, others are single. Some have family support, others do not. Some own their own homes, some rent. Still, a number of basic strategies and tools are typically used in Medicaid planning.

We understand that Medi-Cal planning can be an emotional undertaking for you and your family. Our office will make the Medi-Cal process as easy as possible by providing the following services:

* Preparation and explanation of alternative Medi-Cal planning strategies available for your specific situation;
* Implementation of the Medi-Cal qualification strategy of your choice;
* Preparation of the Medi-Cal application forms;
* Our office will deal directly with Medi-Cal on your behalf through completion of the application process;
* Preparation of estate planning documents (if applicable);
* Assist you with your overall estate plan; and
* Preparation of all documents necessary to reduce or eliminate Medi-Cal recovery (if applicable).

Medi-Cal regulations are constantly updated and changed. Certain transfers of property can have significant tax ramifications that should be discussed with your CPA.  Furthermore, improper transfers can disqualify a Medi-Cal beneficiary and result in a significant period of ineligibility for Medi-Cal benefits. We are experts on this.   Before doing any documents with us we recommend you speak to your CPA and/or attorney. 

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Please note that the author of this blog and webiste, Sean Gjerde is NOT an attorney in the State of California (He holds other licenses) and as such is unable to provide any specific legal advice on California Law. The author is NOT engaged in providing any legal services, and any information contained in this blog and website is NOT intended to constitute legal advice.