14th Nov 2016
When you finalize your Last Will and Testament you designate how you want your estate divided and distributed to your beneficiaries. One aspect of estate planning often forgotten or not discussed is what to do if a beneficiary is receiving Medicaid benefits? In Florida, a beneficiary receiving an inheritance would most likely lose their Medicaid benefits until they spent the inheritance on nursing home care or retain an attorney for Medicaid Planning. But there are ways to avoid the situation if you address the potential problem in advance.
If you know your beneficiary is receiving Florida Medicaid benefits here are a few simple estate planning options to consider:
1. Remove the name of the Medicaid recipient from your Last Will and Testament, taking them out of your Will.
2. Consider leaving a portion of your estate to the Medicaid recipient’s family instead.
3. Depending on the situation, you may consider the use of a Special Needs Trust which is often referred to as a Supplemental Needs Trust.
Depending on the situation, any of the above options could be used to further your estate plan but should only be used after carefully evaluating the entire situation. The entire situation involves not only evaluating the need for the inheritance, the stability of the family involved, and the difficulty of administering the Special Needs Trust, but also any unique situation which may present itself during the planning process.
As Seminole elder law lawyers, we have to evaluate each situation independently to guide our client in a way which meet their wishes upon their death. Sometimes, the goals of the client can prove tricky but a solution is often times available. Whether you replace a beneficiary with a family member or you form a Special Needs Trust, by far the most important factor is advising the attorney now or in the future that your beneficiary is receiving Medicaid benefits.
I’m sure the last thing you expected was to leave an estate distribution to a beneficiary only to have that money spent for the cost of nursing home care. Don’t be afraid to ask your beneficiary questions about Medicaid if you suspect your beneficiary may need additional care or is already receiving additional care. The last thing a Medicaid recipient wants is to lose their Medicaid benefits. Consider all your options and if you have questions call our office at 727-397-4768 to schedule time to meet with our estate planning attorneys.