Major Law Changes Affecting Seniors

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Beginning October 1, 2020, New York will impose a new requirement regarding community Medicaid, those Medicaid services provided in an individual’s home such as homecare. The state will start to use a new “look-back” period of 30 months or 2 ½ years of an individual’s financial records. This means a person applying for community Medicaid must submit financial information for the 2 ½ years prior to their application. The current law has no such condition or a look-back period.

Under the present law, if you were to apply for community Medicaid today, your application would show your finances only as of today, like a snapshot of your present situation. There would be no examination by the Medicaid agency of any transfers of assets made up until that point. If you met the requirements for Medicaid, your application would be approved for those services.

Under the new law, your application must be submitted with your financial records of the preceding 30 months. If you were found to have gifted your assets or placed them into a trust, for example, to protect that property during the last 30 months prior to the filing of the Medicaid application, the value of those assets would start a penalty period which would delay coverage by Medicaid.

The need to protect your assets has never been greater. The new law does not go into effect until the fall, so there is still time to plan. Any arrangement to qualify for Medicaid services at home and retain your assets by placing them in a trust, should be made soon. Without it, under new law, long term health care services could cost you $60,000 per year or more. Planning now will bring you peace of mind.

For those who presently need home health care, it is especially important to apply before October when the “look-back” period will be implemented. It could mean the difference between qualifying immediately for Medicaid benefits or having to wait up to 2 ½ years.

If you have already established a Medicaid asset protection trust, a review of the trust and the assets it contains is in order. Any assets not in the trust are not protected.

You may already have a revocable living trust. A revocable trust does not offer protection from long term care expenses and may need to be restated to address long term care asset protection.

We can review your specific situation to determine if an asset protection trust is needed, or if your existing estate plan needs to be updated. While the State has issued directives for social distancing, we are making appointments available to new and old clients remotely by phone or video conference. Since New York allows for estate planning documents to be signed remotely, we can get this prepared and completed remotely.

To set up a consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at 516-587-5555 or schedule a meeting through our website at

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Michael Davidov, Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney

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