At almost $100,000 a year, long-term care costs would quickly use up a lifetime of savings. The chances of spending some time in a nursing home are high; by some reports, a person age 65 has 1 in 2 chance of spending part of his or her life in a nursing home.
There is a safety net: Medicaid, a federal program administered by the states that pays for long-term care. There is a catch, though. You only qualify for the safety net if you have essentially no savings left to pay for your care.
This seems unfair to many people. Why should the family have to lose all their savings? There is a solution. It is very simple, really, and perfectly legal. It hinges on the difference between income and principal.
How would it be if you could keep the Medicaid authorities from treating, for instance, your bank account as income available to be spent? What if they were only able to see the interest on the bank account, the income? What if the asset itself, the principal, would still be available to your family after you were gone?
By transferring your investment assets to an Income Trust, you can continue to control the investment and spend the income. The principal is protected from your liabilities immediately, and becomes “invisible” to Medicaid after 5 years.
If you want to do this, you should do it right away. The sooner you transfer your assets to your Income Trust, the more likely it is to survive the 5 year “lookback” period.