M&B Monthly: June 2022

In this edition of M&B Monthly…

  • Letter From the President
  • Feature Article: Medicaid Benefits and Protecting The Ones You Love
  • Online Seminars
  • A Little About Us… Highlighting Attorney, John Hemmerich and His Aunt’s Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Letter from the President, Justin Martin

Dear M&B Family,

This month’s newsletter highlights Medicaid Planning. With the cost of long-term health care on the rise, early Medicaid planning can preserve peace of mind through stressful and scary transitional times for families of various resource levels.

Very Sincerely,


Justin R. Martin
President


Medicaid Benefits and Protecting the Ones You Love
By Attorney John Hemmerich

Long-term care is a reality for many of us at some point in life, whether we’re the caregivers or the ones being cared for. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimate that someone turning age 65 today has almost a 70 percent chance of needing some type of long-term care service and support in their remaining years, one-third may never need long-term care, and almost one-quarter will need it for more than 5 years. (1)

Long-term care is thus a consideration for us all. And it is expensive! Medicare, which activates at retirement (about age 65), only helps pay up to 100 days of hospital and out-patient care. Beyond those 100 days, there is no Medicare coverage for long-term care. We must pay privately unless we’re able to qualify for Medicaid’s in-home care assistance and assisted living.

While Medicaid can help offset these costs for some, not everyone knows exactly what this means or how to handle the paperwork. At Myatt & Bell, P.C., we take the mystery out of the difficult and sometimes complicated process of planning and applying for Medicaid benefits – because when done right, it can save time, money, and worry in the long run. Obtaining the right information at the right time, for instance, can make a huge difference in the kinds of assets that can be preserved, as well as minimizing the state’s recovery of assets against a spouse and/or heirs of a deceased Medicaid recipient.

Standards for Qualification

Take Medicaid’s three basic standards for qualification for example. There is a resource limit ($2,000 for an individual), an income limit ($2,523 per month), and a health qualification (certain requirements for assistance with daily living activities). However, two all-too-common mistakes are not realizing what types of resources are exempt from the resource limit and not knowing that there are ways to spend down to preserve resources. Such methods are not loopholes in the law but represent intentional Medicaid policies designed to prevent a spouse from being impoverished or to preserve resources for other family members, such as dependents with disabilities. Additionally, there are trusts that help qualify applicants who might be on the edge of disqualification because of the income limit but who may otherwise qualify for benefits.

In too many cases, the questions around Medicaid come up in crisis situations that require emergency action. Others may seek counsel only after they run low on resources. These stressful circumstances, and other ‘gotcha’ types of scenarios, can be avoided with proper Medicaid planning. So, at what point should Medicaid advice be sought? There are three major triggers that could initiate the Medicaid planning process – 1. Major Illness, 2. Power of Attorney, and 3. Retirement.

1. Major Illness

People apply to Medicaid for long-term care due to a variety of reasons. For example, we get calls for Medicaid planning when funds are running low and long-term care is no longer affordable. Other clients call in response to a recent diagnosis of a long-term illness (e.g., Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or dementia). Seeking advice will help prepare you to get the most out of your private resources and your public benefits. To illustrate, for Medicaid planning purposes, it is ideal to own a home or have investment resources just above $270,000 (including IRA resources) because it can be used to maximize the amount of private resources a couple can retain. In other higher-net worth circumstances, there are Medicaid planning opportunities to self-insure with a trust when you no longer qualify for long-term care insurance due to a health diagnosis. No matter what resources one may possess, it can be important to initiate Medicaid planning to at least understand the options.

2. Power of Attorney

If you are the trustee or power of attorney for someone, then you might be able to contact us to seek advice on behalf of a loved one. Along these lines, if you are named as power of attorney for your spouse who is currently on Medicaid, then there are important rules to understand to avoid Medicaid recovery against the home.

3. Retirement

Finally, and as you approach 65 years, it is a good idea to start looking at your retirement benefits in general. What are your long-term care plans? What documents do you have in place that could facilitate a trusted person to engage in Medicaid planning on your behalf in the future? Having the right documentation is essential for processes to go well and run smoothly.

At Myatt & Bell, P.C., we want to make sure that you are positioned well for your Medicaid planning journey to avoid unnecessary financial tragedies, while protecting the ones you love.

__________________

If you would like to learn more about Medicaid planning and how it could benefit you or your family, please contact us at 503-641-6262 to set up a consultation (the first thirty minutes are complimentary).

(1) U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “How Much Care Will You Need?” LongTermCare.gov (Feb. 2020),
https://acl.gov/ltc/basic-needs/how-much-care-will-you-need

Live Estate Planning Webinar

Myatt & Bell, P.C. is passionate about estate planning because we administer estates every day and repeatedly see how proper planning builds family legacies and strengthens family bonds during difficult times.

With roots back to 1960, Myatt & Bell, P.C. has transitioned many estates to successive generations using wills and trusts.

During our live webinar, we will discuss how wills and trusts work and help you determine whether a will or a trust will best take care of, and protect, your family. We will also discuss the Oregon Estate Tax and how you can reduce your tax liability.

If you are interested in joining our next complimentary estate planning webinar, you can do so by clicking here.


Comments From Our Clients…

“Very Knowledgeable and patient. Excellent service…” – Ellen F.

“…Very good listeners and fast” – Nextdoor App

“Thank you for your assistance in this Medicaid matter. I am truly grateful that I only had to go through this process once and have a reasonable outcome.” – Carrie


John Hemmerich – Attorney

What are you currently reading?

I have always enjoyed the classics and am working my way back through Lés Misérables by Victor Hugo. Probably, one of the most moving books I have read, a sad ending, but with a poignant message about the redemption of compassion. I am also finishing On the Incarnation by Saint Athanasius, a 4th century work, but comes highly recommended by C.S. Lewis.

What is your favorite food?

I still think my mother’s lasagna is the best and my most favorite food. Perhaps it’s the slice of Italian in me, but more likely it’s the special cheese blend. Mmm…mmm…good.

What do you like to do for fun?

My fiancé and I like to go salsa dancing at local venues when we can. The food, Latin music, and community are always uplifting.

__________________

John’s Family Recipe
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet or dark)
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Quart Whipping Cream (heavy is recommended)
  • 1-2 pounds of Strawberries (or Raspberries)
  • 1-2 Oz of Shaved Chocolate bar garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Melt cholate chips with 6 tablespoons of water in a pan over medium heat, just until blended Do not boil. Set aside to cool.
  2. Separate egg yokes from egg whites. Take yokes and stir in sugar, beat until sugar dissolves and mixture turns pale yellow. Stir melted chocolate into egg-yolk and sugar mix.
  3. Now whip the eggs whites, while adding cream of tartar. Continue whipping until eggs are stiff. Gently, fold stiff egg whites into the chocolate mix.
  4. Prepare three 9-inch round baking pans by lining the bottoms with wax paper. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Pour mix into three 9-inch round baking pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Do not overbake as the tort will be somewhat shallow (about ¾ to 1 inch deep).
  5. Allow to tort to cool and then remove from pan (cooling helps the tort not to break up), and peeling off paper.
  6. Take whipping cream and whip with an electric beater. Towards the end of the whipping process, add to taste both sugar (about 2 tablespoons per cup of cream) and vanilla (1/2 teaspoon per cup of cream), and slowly whip (using caution as whipped cream can curdle to butter very quickly if over whipped). Whipped cream should be thick and able to hold it shape, forming peaks.
  7. Layer whipped cream between the torts with sliced strawberries or other berries. Top cake with the same. Sprinkle with shaved or chopped chocolate pieces, if desired, for added presentation.
  8. Chill for several hours and serve.

Do you have feedback for us?

Our ask of you – continue to give us feedback about your experience with M&B, and tell us how we can improve and better meet your needs.

And, if you run into someone who needs help with a will or trust with honest optimism and meticulous attention to detail, tell them about Myatt & Bell, P.C.!

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