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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 30, 2007 / 12 Iyar, 5767

Balancing finances to avoid losing Medicaid

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: After paying private-pay nursing home rates for my husband for three years — more than $175,000 — I finally figured out that if I did not qualify him for Medicaid, I would lose everything and be totally dependent on our children.


By getting him on Medicaid, I was able to keep my house, a car, a small policy of life insurance and just over $80,000 in cash. Since my only income is Social Security and some small interest payments, I now receive most of my husband's Social Security. But I am still struggling financially. Our two children are concerned about me and want to give me $10,000 each year as gifts. I am afraid that if they give me money and I go over the limits, my husband will lose his Medicaid and I will be back where I started. How can they help me without disqualifying him?


A: According to federal law, once your husband ("the nursing home spouse") has qualified for Medicaid according to a financial "snapshot" of you and your husband, you ("the community spouse") were "split off" from him, and your assets are no longer considered available to him. This means that under the current state of the law, you could win the lottery and your assets wouldn't be available to pay for your husband's nursing home care. However, if your income increases, the amount you receive from your husband's Social Security will decrease by that amount. If your children are thinking about helping you in a meaningful way, you and they should seek out the services of a qualified attorney who can assist you in preparing and implementing a plan. And see our last two columns that dealt with reverse mortgages.


Q: My wife is in a nursing home and is on Medicaid. I have terminal cancer and a life expectancy of less than six months. I own a house and have nearly $50,000 in CDs that I want to go to our children because, if it goes to my wife, she will be disqualified from Medicaid and the assets will be lost. I hired a lawyer to help me with my will, and he told me that under the law of our state, I must leave my wife at least one-third of my assets without exception. Is this correct?


A: It depends on where you live. If you live in a state where surviving spouses are entitled to what is called an elective share, your wife will be entitled to make this election to receive one-third of your probate assets. Again, depending on where you live, you could leave one-third of your probate assets into a qualified terminable interest property trust (QTIP) and satisfy the elective share. Under a traditional QTIP trust, your wife would be entitled to the income the assets used to fund this trust, but not necessarily the principal, and at her death, what is left would be distributed to your children.


Another type of trust that may be effective is a special-needs trust that can also be established in your will. In this way, you can make sure your wife receives certain benefits during her lifetime without disqualifying her from Medicaid. You could name one of your children as trustee. At your wife's death, the trustee would distribute the remaining assets to your children.


The advantages of a properly prepared special-needs trust include: (1) the ability to separate trust distributions from your wife's actual income so she can receive benefits without Medicaid disqualification; (2) the assets of the trust will not be subject to payment of her medical bills and will not risk her Medicaid coverage; (3) your wife will be able to receive things she may need but which are not covered by governmental programs; and (4) the cost of administration is not great if a child is trustee. On the other hand: (1) the trust must file tax returns and have its own federal identification number; (2) the trustee must be schooled about how to distribute the funds and for what purposes; and (3) the paperwork is complex. In our view, a qualified attorney should prepare the trust and advise the trustee thoroughly.


We recommend that all elderly persons consider wills with special-needs trusts as part of their planning process. Because of the complexities involved, these trusts should be drafted only by attorneys who are competent in this field of law.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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