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Washington State Employee Payroll Tax Law for Long-Term Care Benefits

By now, you’ve probably heard about the controversial new Washington State Employee Payroll Tax Law for Long-Term Care Benefits (the WA Cares Fund). This law could have serious implications for you or someone you know. The purpose of this post is to add some much-needed clarity to the situation while letting you know what you can do to opt out of this tax, if that’s your preference.

If you haven’t heard about this tax, here’s the executive summary:

This new tax will go into a reserve that will pay long-term care expenses for people who don’t have private long-term care insurance in the state of Washington.

Point 1: This will take 0.58% of a W-2 employee’s paycheck and divert it to the WA Cares Fund.

Point 2: This deduction is automatic and applies only W-2 employees in the state of Washington.

Point 3: Retired residents in Washington State who don’t have private long-term care insurance are the only people eligible to take advantage of the WA Cares Fund.

Point 4: W-2 employee can choose to opt in or opt out of the tax. I explain how to opt out at the end of this article/blog/email.

NOTE: If you need clarification on the terms used in this bill, the FAQ at the end of this post will bring you up to speed.

Here’s my take on the WA Cares Fund:

I like to think of it this way. This is a forced reduction in pay for every W-2 employee. These may seem like strong words but hear me out. For people who are low income or who have significant health challenges, WA Cares is a good option. However, it’s not a good option for middle income people and those who earn more, that is, people making over $75,000 per year. Not long ago, I heard a report on KING 5 News about this tax and its impact. The reporter said that anyone with a moderate income or higher would be better off buying a long-term care policy. The benefits of a private policy are likely to be more than the WA Cares coverage.

Here’s how I see it. First, I think that a person who makes $50,000 a year would be better off buying private long-term care insurance. Why, you ask? It’s like my favorite kind of candy. There’s a $1 option and a $5 option. The $1 option tastes okay, but the $5 option (made of organic, locally sourced ingredients), tastes much better. I would rather spend the $5 to get what I really want—a great tasting treat—than spend $1 on a cheap imitation that’s not nearly as satisfying.

It’s the same with insurance. If you hate spending money on junk and would be open to spending a bit more on something that has real value, then getting a personal long-term care insurance policy makes a lot more sense. 

I truly believe that the purpose of the tax is to box people into making a decision about long-term care insurance. My guess is that they hope that more people choose it than don’t. There will be many legal challenges to this law, and it is very likely that it will be overturned. For example, though there is an opt out provision for those who buy a private long-term care insurance policy, insurance companies do not issue these policies to those under 40, which means that there is no real choice for those under 40. Similarly, the benefits will only be good in Washington State though the currency used to buy the benefits is good throughout the world. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more problems with this law, and the constitutional challenges will be many.

My advice? Look at what a private policy would cost you. I understand that New York Life has a policy that beats the tax for those who are young. This policy may be worth considering. Other companies offer similar policies. If you get stuck paying the tax, you can opt out at least until December 2022 by buying a long-term care policy.

The bottom line: If you make more than $100,000 a year, your interests will be better served by a private long-term care policy. It will almost certainly be better coverage and it will cost you far less in the long run.   

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call our office at (253)-941-7200. You can also call our state officials for assistance. Thank you for your time, and AgeOn!

Rajiv


Further questions can be answered below.

FAQ

What is Long-term care?

Long-term care (LTC), as defined by Washington State law, is an insurance policy, contract or rider that provides coverage for at least 12 consecutive months to an insured person if they experience a debilitating prolonged illness or disability. Long-term care insurance typically covers the following types of services if they’re provided in a setting other than a hospital’s acute care unit:

  • Diagnostic
  • Preventive
  • Therapeutic
  • Rehabilitative
  • Maintenance
  • Personal care

LTC insurance typically pays benefits when an insured person can no longer independently do two or more of the following activities of daily living (ADLs):

  • Bathe
  • Go to the bathroom
  • Eat
  • Dress
  • Transfer (such as getting out of a chair or bed)
  • Control their bladder or bowels (continence)

For more information about what long-term care is, please visit our State’s website at www.leg.wa.gov or contact our office at (206)-941-7200. Thank you.

What is the new state employee payroll tax for long-term care benefits?

Washington State is launching a new tax that will begin on January 1, 2022 to fund a state-wide long-term care plan for Washington elders. All Washington State employee wages (those employees who work in Washington, receive wages reported on a Form W-2, and work at least 500 hours per year) are subject to a 0.58% payroll tax. For example, $0.58 tax assessment on every $100 of eligible wages. There is no cap on this new tax. This tax is paid by employees. To see a breakdown of how the 0.58% can affect your paycheck, please look at this photo provided by Coldstream Wealth Management.

The State Employee Payroll Long-Term Care Tax creates a publicly funded long-term care benefit for Washingtonians that provides a basic level of long-term care protection for working residents. Beneficiaries will receive a $36,500 lifetime benefit, provided that they are no longer working and they are the legal Washington-retired-stated age.

Who does the new tax apply to?

The new tax applies to all W-2 current employees in the state of Washington. Some residents will be exempt from the tax, including 1099 employees, part-time workers, those who are self-employed, and business owners. Individuals that want to partake in this tax and obtain the benefits at the point of personal retirement can apply for the WA Cares benefit.

Who should opt out?

AgingOptions recognizes the issues many may have with this tax, and therefore are recommending that some opt out of this tax. According to King 5 News, “for those who make $75,000 or more or plan to at some point in their careers, it’s likely better to get a private policy now to get exempt from the payroll tax”. We argue that people earning $50,000 or more should look into private long-term care insurance. If you are unsure if you will live in Washington State when you retire, and if you have or are looking for your own private long-term care plan, it would be wise for you to opt out of paying this tax. Individuals that own a private long-term care insurance policy can permanently opt-out of the program by applying for an exemption with their employer for a limited amount of time.

How can I opt out of this tax?

To opt out of this tax, you must:

  1. Be 18 years of age
  2. Have purchased a qualifying private long-term care insurance plan before Nov. 1, 2021. Learn more about qualifying plans on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s website
  3. Submit an exemption application to the Employment Security Department (ESD). Exemption applications will be available starting Oct. 1st, 2021 and will be accepted until December 31st, 2022.
    1. Please note that the private long-term care plan needs to be purchased BEFORE November 1st, 2021 in order to qualify.

The exemption to opt out of the program is a limited time opportunity. To qualify for an exemption, an employee must have purchased a long-term care policy by November 1, 2021 and attest that they have a comparable long-term care insurance policy. The process for this exemption is still a work in progress, but we think it will be the following:

A.   Purchase a long-term care (LTC) policy by November 1, 2021.

B.   Go to a Washington State website (URL TBD) to get the exemption to the LTC payroll tax.

C.   The LTC policy must be a 7702B Policy.

D.  The state will issue a letter for the exemption (we call the “golden letter”).

E.   The employee provides the “golden letter” to HR/payroll to avoid the LTC payroll tax.

Who should I go to about a private insurance plan for long-term care?

  • Here is a list of three companies where you can purchase great and private long-term care insurance plans brought to you by one of AgingOptions  Certified Financial Planners, Saket Sengar:
    • A.   New York Life Insurance, Agent – Inderpal Singh, 206-334-7759.
    • B.   Pacific Life Insurance, Agent – Houston Cagle, 206-305-7582.
    • C.   Lincoln Life Insurance, Agent – Kevin Forman, 206-406-0044.

What if I have more questions about the new state employee payroll tax for long-term care benefits?

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (253)-941-7200 for assistance. Thank you!

Cited Sources of Information:

http://www.wacaresfund.wa.gov/private-insurance/

https://www.washingtonpolicy.org/publications/detail/details-about-the-states-mandated-long-term-care-law-and-payroll-tax-are-slowly-emerging

https://www.insurance.wa.gov/what-qualifies-long-term-care-insurance

https://www.king5.com/article/sponsor-story/who-should-opt-out-of-washingtons-new-long-term-care-insurance-program/281-ef6cdbc0-7e3f-4cb9-ba59-f205c2a9057c

https://westerntoday.wwu.edu/news/new-mandated-payroll-tax-to-pay-for-long-term-care-benefits-in-washington-state

Why Elder Law and Medicaid Planning?

This week in Crisis Corner: Why Elder Law and Medicaid Planning?

Most people reading this blog have heard Rajiv Nagaich tell the story of how he came to Elder Law.  It is a great story and leaves no doubt why he would choose to practice in this area of law.  Not all of us have that same personal connection to someone who has suffered through the pain of watching a loved one decline and suffer, so why not join one of the more glamorous practices?

Here is why I do what I do:

Growing up I was fairly small, until high school, and very academic.  That, combined with some medical challenges that affected my social interactions, made me a prime target for bullying.  However, rather than run from the bullies I sought them out, especially when I was not their target.  I constantly inserted myself between mountains of flesh and their intended victims.  Maybe it was because I always wanted someone else to be there for me and they weren’t or maybe I just enjoyed playing the role of David versus Goliath.  Whatever the reason, I developed a pretty strong “Superhero Complex.”  It felt good to save others, even when it meant getting hurt.

When I went to college I had grand plans for becoming a geneticist and curing a lot of diseases.  I may be dating myself, but I even had plans for how I would speed up the estimated decades it would take to map the human genome, which turned out to not take much longer than my college career.  Then in the summer between my sophomore and junior years I spent a few weeks living in Section 8 housing, doing work with the Rescue Mission and interacting with the residents.  A six year-old that was climbing on me like a jungle gym (at the time I was a mountain of flesh) told me that he was going to drop out instead of going to first grade because he would be dead or in jail before he graduated anyway.  That fall I changed my classes to meet the prerequisites for a Masters in Teaching program.  I went on to teach early childhood for close to 14 years, including a five year stint teaching Special Education Preschool in a low income area where I specialized in students with severe emotional and behavioral disorders.  I tried to be the superhero those kids needed so that they would see the possibilities that no one else would show them.

Eventually the stress and strain of being a male preschool teacher and all of the assumptions people made about me got to be too much.  I considered becoming a chef or a paralegal and decided on paralegal.  During my training I was told that I thought and wrote more like an attorney than a paralegal and that I should be in law school instead, but it was not financially possible at the time.  That did not stop me from looking for the glitz and glamour of high powered law.  I interned with a firm that handled Personal Injury and Criminal Defense.  I worked on murder cases and appeals being heard in front of the State Supreme Court.  It was not personally rewarding to me, but I sure felt important.  

Then I graduated and had to find a job.  No one was even answering my applications, despite what I thought were very impressive credentials.  Then a friend in realty convinced an Elder Law Attorney in Tacoma to take me on.  I did not have a lot of hands on work on the cases and did more work managing the office and tracking down missing heirs than anything else.  After a little less than a year doing that, I was introduced to Rajiv and soon became a Medicaid Specialist for him.

It did not take long before I realized that the people who need to get Medicaid help for a loved one are exactly the sort of people that I wanted to work with.  The work requires a lot of math and a lot of thinking outside of the box, not to mention thinking non-linearly.  The loved ones who need care and are running out of money are facing one of the biggest bullies there is and without a superhero they are going to get pummeled.  Once I realized that I could have fun, using all of my skills, AND I got to return to being a superhero, I was sold.  It became my goal to find every trick there was, and some that didn’t really exist until I thought of them, so that I could be the greatest shield my clients could hope for.

My eagerness combined with supervising attorneys who were not always as well versed in Medicaid law and who had a harder time not thinking in a straight line led to some conflict between me and my immediate supervisors, but they left and I stayed.  Before long it became clear that the answer was for me to become the attorney so that I would stop driving them away.  Rajiv bought in and supported some bizarre work schedules so that I could maintain full-time employment and go to law school at night.  Now I get to be the superhero I always wanted to be.  I even have a hand-painted thank you card from a client that shows me as the Superhero “Crisis Man” displayed in my office.

Aaron as "Crisis Man"

So, for me, Elder Law was not a choice born from a personal experience on the other side of the struggle.  For me, it was all about finding a place where I can live out my Superhero Complex and go to bed each night knowing that I used my powers to help some of the most desperate victims of some of the worst bullies come out of those situations, relatively, unscathed.  

If you or your loved ones are facing outrageous care costs, loss of a life savings, hospitals that tell you that going home is not an option, or any one of a dozen other stresses that come from a scary diagnosis, give me a call.  I cannot guarantee a perfect outcome, but I can guarantee that I will fight for you with more passion than you will find in 99% of the attorney offices anywhere in the world.  I want to be your superhero.

Start Planning With Professionals Early!

This week in Crisis Corner, why it is more important than ever to start early and get professional help in planning for your long term care needs.

I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on Rajiv’s Aging Options radio show. During our conversation he asked me about changes to Medicaid in 2021 and, for the first time, I really put all of the changes I have been seeing together in my mind.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that the amount of money a well spouse can have at the time of the application, the personal needs allowance that the Medicaid recipient gets to keep, the allowable home equity, and all of those sorts of things increased by a tiny percentage, as they do every year. In fact a person receiving benefits outside of their home gets to keep a full $1.12 per month more of their money in January 2021 than they did in December 2020. Needless to say, the increased benefits from the State are not significant.

The bad news is that the way that the State enforces rules is changing, whether officially or not, and the way care providers accept Medicaid is also changing. One of these sets of changes increases the need for seeking professional help and the other increases the need to start the process early.

The biggest change the State has made, its automated asset verification process (AAVP), is not really new to 2021 but it has been an increasing issue as 2020 progressed. Before the system was implemented, we would send three to six months of bank statements along with the Medicaid application and explain any unclear deposits or withdrawals. On rare occasions the case worker assigned to the application would see a red flag and ask for more bank statements, sometimes (twice that I recall from hundreds of applications) they asked for all statements from the five years leading up to the application. When the AAVP was first rolled out I did not see much change and it seemed that they only used it if they saw a red flag and wanted to get more information, or to look for bank accounts that were not reported at all. Then things changed. Now, as far as I can tell, the case worker prints out a report of every deposit or withdrawal over a specified amount (about $350 I think) that has occurred in the last five years. The good caseworkers sort through and eliminate the items such as transfers from checking to savings, automatic payments to a mortgage, or other similar items that are self-explanatory. Other case workers send a seven page letter requesting an explanation for each and every transaction, most of which I can simply note as self-explanatory. The problem lies with the ones that are not self-explanatory. If I show you a bank statement from January of 2016 and ask why you made a cash withdrawal of $400.00 on the 5th would you remember what the money was for? This becomes even more of an issue when the person applying for benefits managed their own finances until two or three years ago and now have no capacity to recall what they did, so their agent is trying to explain transactions that they had no part in. I spend more time trying to explain bank transactions that should not even be the subject of scrutiny than I do explaining the really complicated transactions that used to be the reason people came to me for help.

The other big change I have seen from the State is how they enforce old rules that have not changed. A good example is home equity. In the past if a single person was living at home or intended to return home and the equity was too high, the State would approve benefits and place a TEFRA lien on the home right away (a lien for all Medicaid benefits that normally is not placed until the recipient passes). Similarly, I had several married couples where the well spouse kept the home but rented an apartment near the care facility of the spouse applying for benefits, sometimes renting the house until they were able to move back in. Now, on several occasions, the single applicants are being forced to go through formal hardship waiver applications and the State is applying the equity limit to the married couples (normally a well spouse can own a home of any value) and requiring a hardship waiver application if the house has too much equity. The hardship waiver application is not overly difficult in and of itself, especially with help from an attorney; however, by the time the State informs you of the requirement, you prepare the application, and it gets reviewed by all the levels of supervisors that are mandated by the application, the approval can be delayed for several extra months. This is not the only rule that is seeing much harsher interpretations. I have had children pay large amounts of money to cover repairs to a parent’s home so that it can be sold and then get paid back after the sale and the State’s case worker insisted that the child made a gift and then received a gift because there was no paperwork to prove it was a loan. They wanted to impose a gifting penalty for something that was clearly not a gift (I eventually won that fight). That is only one extreme example of an increasing unwillingness to admit transfers that are not for Medicaid qualifying purposes as excluded. A few years ago I had a client who gave $10,000.00 to her youngest daughter, just before applying, because she had paid that much towards the other daughters’ weddings and did not want her youngest to miss out just because she was applying for Medicaid… and it was approved without a single extra question asked!

That brings me to the changes I am seeing in care providers, both in home and in communities. A year ago I could call one of the geriatric care managers that I regularly work with and tell them I need an adult family home (AFH) or assisted living facility (ALF) in a certain part of the state and I need them to accept Medicaid in no more than 6-12 months. They might have grumbled at me, but in most cases they had three to five possible communities for the families to look at within a week or two. Today, if I make the same request, the families might get a list of 3-5 facilities within 25 miles of the part of the state they want after a month or two (assuming they want a quality facility and not just one that accepts Medicaid). The demand for beds in quality communities is higher than ever and the amount that Medicaid is asking them to accept for care provided is not increasing with the increase in private pay rates. For example, when I started this six years ago, an AFH might get $4-5K per month private pay and $3-3.5K from Medicaid, so they would often take Medicaid after 6-24 months of private pay. Now the private pay is often $6-9K per month and the Medicaid rate is $3.5-4K so they all want 2-5 years of private pay or they have stopped accepting Medicaid all together. What used to be the high end of private pay periods has become the starting point for most communities. We always advocate for trying to keep your loved ones at home, but that is not always realistic, especially if you wait to start planning until the money is mostly gone and the needs are at their highest. Recognizing that a care community might be required and transitioning early, while care needs are relatively low, can save tens of thousands of dollars. Think of it like this, you can pay privately for three years while care needs are low and the rate is $5,500 per month or you can pay privately for three years when assistance is needed for nearly every activity of daily living and the rate is $8,000 per month.

People receiving care at home are not immune to this change in care givers or, more accurately, this lack of change in benefits. Clients often have care providers that have been working with them for some time and, when Medicaid starts, they want to keep that care provider. However, a care provider who is being paid $20-35 per hour may not want to accept $16.50 from Medicaid. Not only are Medicaid rates very low, they only look at experience related to State approved work. A recent client had a care provider with the training and experience to warrant over $20 per hour from the State, but it was not work performed for the State so she was only offered $16.75 per hour to stay on as a Medicaid provider. The only saving grace for finding willing providers is that the State approves very few hours for most elderly recipients and the families can pay a higher rate for the extra hours that they cover privately (please note that you cannot simply pay the provider more for the hours that Medicaid already pays for or the provider and you can face severe repercussions). For example, the state may pay $16.50 per hour for the first 100 hours of care each month and the family might opt to pay for an additional 20 hours of care at $30 per hour that the State does not cover. This brings the average pay per hour up to $18.75, which may be at least a little more palatable to the care provider.

My long-winded point is this: between changes to how Medicaid rules are enforced and a lack of change to how care providers are compensated, it is very important that you start planning for your long term care needs sooner than later and that you work with a professional to minimize the snags along the way. If you are fortunate enough that Medicaid and care providers are something that is in your distant future, if at all, then talk to one of our Life Planners and get a really early start. If things are starting to get shaky but you think you can hold it together a little longer before you spring for a professional, call me and start now. Starting early is the single best thing you can do to provide yourself and your loved ones the best possible outcome.

What is a Geriatric Care Manager, and what do they do?

This week we learn about Geriatric Care Managers. Who are geriatric care managers (GCMs) and what do they do?

GCMs play a huge part in the work that we do to help clients prepare for Medicaid. In general, most GCMs are nurses or social workers by trade, but that is not always the case. They can also offer a wide variety of services and not all of them offer the same services. The following are the primary services offered, that we request the most often, and how they help our clients.

Far and away the most common service that our clients need help with, and the one that most GCMs provide even if they provide no other services, is finding appropriate housing options in an adult family home (AFH), assisted living facility (ALF), skilled nursing facility (SNF), or continuing care retirement community (CCRC). Any GCM will have a list of facilities and the cost for each within any given search radius. The better GCMs will also be able to provide information about: past and present complaints or actions against the facility; anecdotal information about the quality of care; and a sense of what the overall feel/personality of the facility is. They can tell you whether or not your loved one who hates Asian food or only speaks in Cantonese or wants hotdogs every Tuesday will fit in. When it comes to housing research, many GCMs will not charge because they receive payment from facilities where they place a client. Some will charge by the hour if they do not receive such payments or if they are looking at facilities that do not make such payments. You should always clarify what you will be charged ahead of time and ensure that, regardless of the fee, the GCM is willing to look at facilities that do not make payments to the GCM for the placement.

The other thing that separates a good or great GCM form the rest is their willingness and ability to use their connections within the facilities to negotiate shorted private pay periods. As you may have read elsewhere in this firm’s writings, most non-SNF facilities that accept Medicaid expect you to pay privately for 2-4 years. GCMs can often negotiate terms where a larger deposit is made up front and the private pay period is shortened or even eliminated completely. Attorneys can make similar negotiations, but we have less of a direct connection with the facilities and that lack of a relationship can make it much harder to strike the same bargain.

Similarly, GCMs facilitate the finding and hiring of care providers to provide in-home care for their clients, such as driving them to appointments, fixing meals, or paying bills. They are familiar with local agencies that have good reputations and they are skilled at finding individuals who do not work for an agency if you want to avoid some of the agency mark-up. They are also very good at helping identify the pros and cons of using an agency or an individual based on the merits of your individual needs. Once a care provider is hired, the GCM can also serve as an overseer, checking in to be sure that the care is appropriate and the care providers are doing all that they are being paid for. To start out, this might be weekly check-ins and then ease back to monthly or even quarterly check-ins.

The second most common service that our clients need is a functional assessment and care plan. In order to qualify for Medicaid, and sometimes just to successfully create a plan for future benefits, it is important to know what help a client needs, how often they need it, and what it will cost them if they pay for it privately. GCMs can assess the needs of the client and put together a care plan that tells family members what they should be doing or what they should be hiring someone to do. It is very helpful to ensure that Medicaid does not understate the needs of the client, to create a contract for paying loved ones for care before the time for a Medicaid application, or for several other planning options that may be in consideration. A thorough assessment with a well prepared care plan makes my job much easier and provides invaluable information to the family and friends of someone who is in need of care

GMCs will often help coordinate and schedule appointments, attend medical and/or legal appointments, and then help relay and explain the conversations that were had to loved ones or to the client. They are also great at translating on the spot when a doctor starts using a lot of medical jargon and then asks a client to make a decision that could dramatically affect their life. Having someone with you who “speaks the language” can make a big difference.

GCMs are also available to help loved ones who have chosen to be the care provider. A good GCM can help find short-term respite options for someone who just needs a break but does not want to give up providing the care. This could range from finding care providers that are willing to only work one or two days per week, for limited hours, to allow the care provider a chance to get out, or it could be helping identify local adult daycares that will provide great quality care on an irregular schedule.

And So Much More.

We have also known GCMs to serve as agents under a financial and/or health care power of attorney, serve as weekly hired companions to just spend quality time with lonely individuals, coordinate family discussions to avoid or resolve misunderstandings and disputes, and so much more.

It is very important to find a great elder law attorney when planning for your future or the future of your loved ones. It is equally important to find a great GCM to work with. We have several great GCMs that we work with and we are happy to make introductions between our clients and our trusted GCMs.

What to do with your parents money.

This week in Crisis Corner, we want to discuss what to do when mom or dad gives you a large sum of money as part of their Medicaid planning.

It is a very common practice for aging parents, especially those with a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, to give a large portion of their assets to their children and start a “five year look back period.” In most cases, Medicaid will not pay benefits for an applicant that has made a gift within 60 months of applying. The period of time that the applicant is ineligible is based upon the size of the gift. Under the current standards (these change at least once per year) a gift of $631,450.00, give or take a little bit based on leap years, is enough to trigger a five year penalty. If the gift is less than this amount, it might be worth applying right away, or it might still be better to wait. That is a separate discussion that has to be had on a case by case basis.

Whether the gift is part of a plan to apply soon or a plan to apply after five years, you may be left wondering what to do with all of that money. In general, there are three options:

  1. Spend it. When a gift is made for Medicaid purposes, it has to be a true gift. That means that mom or dad cannot give it to you on the condition that you will only use it for them until they die. You can quit your job and take a month long trip to Europe, by a Ferrari or two, or just pay off your own debt. Most children do not do this but it is an option.
  2. Put it in the bank. Some children put some or all of the money in a bank account that is dog-eared for use that benefits mom or dad. This is totally acceptable and, for smaller gifts, it may be the best way to handle the funds. This gives you the flexibility to still use some of it for yourself and it is readily available to help mom or dad if they need help.
  3. Put it into a Safe Harbor Trust. If the gift is a significant one (that means different things to different people), and you want to use all or most of the money for mom or dad’s needs, then putting the money into a Trust for their benefit has a lot of advantages.
    • If the gift was made to several children who all want to help mom or dad, they can all put their gifted money into one Trust and not worry about who is paying more from their gifts.
    • If you rear-end someone on the freeway or otherwise get sued, the money is protected from the lawsuit.
    • Similar protection is there if you predecease mom or dad.
  4. You, and any others putting money into the Trust, can designate where the money will go after mom or dad dies. For example, there are two kids but one was disinherited over a silly fight and both kids feel like the estate should be shared when mom or dad passes so the gift goes to only one of you and they put it into a Trust that says when mom or dad dies everything in the trust goes to both of you.
    • You are able to avoid temptation. You might really want to save the money in case mom or dad needs it but you also really want a new car/home/vacation. You know that once you buy yourself one thing you will want to buy yourself more things. It might be easier if you keep enough of the gift to buy yourself one thing and the rest is securely in a Trust that cannot be used for the benefit of anyone except mom or dad.

When the plan to give you the gift was made, the attorney suggesting the gift should have talked to mom or dad about these options. If you came to Life Point Law and had a Family Meeting, the attorney should have also talked to you about these options. If you have not talked to anyone about what to do with the gift you received, or if you have a loved one that is waiting to run out of money so that they can apply for Medicaid (because they do not realize that these options exist), please give us a call and see how we can help you understand your options.