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Not everything you hear about Medicaid planning is true

A lot of confusion exists about qualifying for Medicaid when it is time to go into a nursing home or other long-term care facility in the Washington, DC area. As is the case with most things in life, not everything you hear is true. For instance, just because a friend or other family member had a certain issue with Medicaid planning does not mean that you will.

The rules for Medicaid eligibility are complex and each case must be considered individually. There is no "one size fits all" approach. However, some truths do apply to everyone. One of them has to do with powers of attorney.

You may be under the impression that your agent may make gifts on your behalf if you have a durable power of attorney (POA). Unfortunately, in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia, this may not be true when it comes to obtaining Medicaid benefits. These jurisdictions require that certain provisions specific to gifting be included in your POA.

Even if you give your agent broad powers to conduct your financial affairs, the power to gift must be explicitly outlined in your POA. In addition, if you wish to allow your agent to give a gift to him- or herself, a waiver of the prohibition against self-dealing is required. Your POA must also specifically allow the agent to be compensated. This document will be scrutinized by Medicaid authorities, and without these specific powers, any transfers made by your agent could affect your ability to receive benefits.

In fact, all of the assets and income belonging to you, your spouse (if any) and those held in trust will be considered. Having an attorney assist you with Medicaid planning can help maximize your chances of receiving benefits since the rules are always in flux and how your estate is structured can affect your eligibility. To find out what other information you have been told about Medicaid that may not be true, visit our website.

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