Probate and Long Term Health Care

Most seniors do their best to prepare for the unfortunate, inevitable, outcome that one day they will pass away.  They create their will, and with painstaking detail allocate their hard-earned money and assets to spouses, children, family, friends, and charities.  But what if there is not money or assets left over to leave for loved ones?  What many do not realize is that paying taxes, helping the family, and subsiding off of what Social Security provides are not the things that typically bankrupt most seniors.  So what is?  A simple Google search into Long Term Health Care will bring up horror stories many Americans experience and will continue to face.  Hard working Americans, who have been saving for 40 years, end up penniless at the end.  It is expected that 70% of seniors over the age of 65 will need long term health care at some point in their life.  With the incoming influx of baby boomers, the problems only seem to compound.  Combine that with the fact that the estimated cost of staying in a nursing home is close to $9,500 dollars a month, one can easily see how their life-time savings can disappear.  When the average time spent in long term health care is three years, at $9,500 a month, that comes out to $342,000.  Everyone wants to ensure that their spouse, children, and family are provided for as best as possible, especially when they can no longer be an influence.  Below you can find more information on what probate is, the benefits and problems with Medicare and Medicaid, as well as some typical ways people can secure funds and assets.

Medicare vs Medicaid

One of the most complicated aspects of insurance pertains to “long-term health care”.  Below is a breakdown of what is covered by Medicare and Medicaid in regards to long-term health care.
Long-Term Health Care.

  • Medicare does not pay for long-term health care.
  • Skilled nursing over 100 days qualifies as long-term health care.
  • Even if you meet the qualifications under Medicare for skilled nursing, it cannot extend over 100 days and in many cases will end after 30 days if there is not continued improvement.

Medicaid Long-Term Care.

  • To be eligible one must meet both the requirements for financial and medical needs.  If you do not meet these requirements, there are exceptions to the rules that a Jacksonville Elder law attorney can help with.
  • Eligibility depends on age, state, and Medicaid program.
  • Often seniors with Alzheimer’s or other cognitive diseases can qualify.

Ways to Secure Funds

Many seniors and their families are often under the impression that they should avoid probate at all costs.  It is known to be a lengthy process, ranging anywhere from a couple of months to a couple of years.  This can be excruciating for families, especially spouses, that are dependent on the assets held up in court.  Many people are also skeptical and wary of the cut taken out of assets, which can be as high as ten percent, for court fees, lawyers, and other expenses.  Probate is also a public process, which means all the assets and who inherits them are open to the general public.  All of these are legitimate reasons to question probate, but as we have discussed earlier, it can be much more detrimental to not have your assets properly protected.  Seniors that are expecting or are encountering long-term health care should be more concerned with protecting their assets than the minimal, potential danger probate proffers.

Talking to a Jacksonville Elder Law Attorney could provide the assurance necessary to mitigate the probate field as profitable and painlessly as possible.  Below you can find some of the strategies many seniors use to protect their assets.

  • The magic numbers are between 500-1,000 dollars per month to receive Medicaid.
  • Most states have a “Homestead” clause, which allows a certain amount of money to pass by probate.  $15,000 in Georgia, $100,000 in California, and $550,000 in Florida.  This can be a major factor in determining where to retire.
  • Revocable Living Trusts do not protect assets.
  • Beneficiaries on Retirement and Bank Accounts.
  • Life Insurance Policies
  • Pay-On-Death Accounts
  • Joint Ownership or Tenancy
  • Gifts
  • Procedures on Small Estates


  • Probate in the simplest of terms is the official proving or authenticating of a will.
  • It can include having assets appraised to determine their value.
  • An executor refers to the person who is named on the will whose job it is to execute or dictate the will or is the one appointed by the court if necessary, that files papers in probate court accordingly by county and state regulations.
  • The executor is deemed with the responsibility of providing evidence and validity to the court necessary with regards to properties, debts, assets, and any inheritance the deceased has left.
  • Whoever is declared the executor must find and allocate assets to the desired inheritors, as well as sell assets if necessary to meet financial debts.

This article was written by Senior Directory.  If you or a loved one require senior care, home care, health insurance, or wheelchair ramps in Jacksonville, Florida the, please visit our website for more information.

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