How Can a New York Medicaid Attorney Help Me Protect My Assets?

Are you considering filing for Medicaid benefits in New York? Proper legal assistance can significantly impact asset protection and estate planning. An experienced New York Medicaid attorney who understands the regulations governing Medicaid eligibility and how these rules interact with other facets of a state’s estate planning laws is an invaluable resource.

Don’t sort through complex finances and intricate laws alone – instead, limit possible errors by partnering with an innovative and professional team that provides Medicaid planning services.

This blog explains how to select a knowledgeable and experienced New York Medicaid attorney who can help you navigate complicated legal issues, safeguard your assets, and protect your legacy.

At Sheryll Law, P.C., we help you take steps to protect your family and make sure your assets are passed down from generation to generation with proper estate planning. Contact us at (631) 506-8440 to schedule a consultation with a Medicaid planning attorney.

Understanding Medicaid Eligibility Requirements in New York

Medicaid is a government-funded health insurance program that provides comprehensive coverage to lower-income New Yorkers based on age, financial circumstances, family situation, or living arrangements. An extensive network of healthcare providers offers these services, which qualified individuals can access through a Medicaid card or managed care plan if enrolled in managed care. To qualify for Medicaid in New York, an individual must meet the income and resource requirements. These requirements change quite frequently so it is important to look into the current laws at the time of needing care.

New York offers several different Medicaid programs that provide varying levels of coverage and eligibility requirements. For instance, the Essential Plan provides comprehensive health insurance coverage to low-income adults who do not qualify for traditional Medicaid due to their income level. This plan has no monthly premium and covers doctor visits, prescription drugs, hospital care, and more. The Child Health Plus program provides free or low-cost health insurance coverage to children under 19 whose family incomes are too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid but still too low to afford private health insurance plans.

Individuals and families considering applying for programs like Community Medicaid or Nursing Home Medicaid in New York must understand the urgency of proper planning for asset protection and qualifying for Medicaid benefits. For example, if an individual’s assets exceed the limit required by Medicaid eligibility rules, they may be able to transfer those assets into a trust or other legal entity that will allow them to remain eligible while safeguarding these assets from medical costs. However, making transfers within the lookback period can trigger a penalty.

For Medicaid planning, a thorough understanding of the options, penalties, and requirements is crucial to making informed decisions.

What is the Lookback Period for Medicaid in New York?

The first step in preserving your assets begins with understanding the Medicaid lookback period—the length of time the state will look back at an individual’s financial history when determining their eligibility for benefits. In New York, this period is five years before applying for Nursing Home Medicaid. The Department of Social Services (DSS) will closely monitor gifts and asset and property transfers during this timeframe. It could subject them to penalties and disqualification from receiving benefits if they deem them an attempt to qualify for Nursing Medicaid benefits.

According to the information available, there are plans to introduce changes to the lookback periods for Community Medicaid in New York State. It is anticipated that starting from March 31, 2024, a lookback period of 30 months will be implemented for Community Medicaid. However, the lookback period for Nursing Home Medicaid is expected to remain unchanged at 5 years, as of the current information provided in this article. Please note that these plans are seeking to be implemented and often change and it is advisable to verify the most recent updates from official sources.

An experienced New York Medicaid attorney can help you understand the rules and regulations surrounding the lookback period and suggest strategies to protect assets.

How a New York Medicaid Attorney Can Help

A New York Medicaid attorney can help individuals understand the eligibility rules and navigate the application process. They can also guide them through long-term care planning, such as protecting assets while maintaining Medicaid eligibility.

Medicaid attorneys employ multiple strategies to help their clients protect their assets and qualify for Medicaid assistance, including:

  • Planning for Medicaid lookback periods
  • Transferring assets into trusts
  • Using legal tools like powers of attorney, wills, and trusts

An experienced Medicaid lawyer can explain these strategies in detail and advise individuals about which suits their situation. Working with a knowledgeable lawyer ensures applicants fulfill all the necessary steps to safeguard their assets and qualify for Medicaid assistance.

Examples of Asset Protection Strategies

A knowledgeable Medicaid attorney can provide comprehensive advice on the most strategic methods of protecting your assets from paying for medical expenses or long-term care costs, including the following:

Irrevocable Trusts

An irrevocable trust is a legal arrangement where the grantor (the person creating the trust) transfers assets to a trust managed by a trustee for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. When planning for Medicaid asset protection purposes many people use a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust which is a specific type of Irrevocable Trust.

The grantor can place various assets in an irrevocable trust, including real estate, investments, cash, and personal property. Once they transfer these assets to an irrevocable trust, the law no longer considers them part of the grantor’s estate for Medicaid purposes. Therefore, these assets do not count when determining Medicaid eligibility, allowing individuals to qualify for benefits without spending down their assets.

Irrevocable trusts can be a valuable tool in Medicaid planning. By transferring assets to an irrevocable trust, New Yorkers can preserve their wealth and qualify for Medicaid benefits to cover long-term care costs. It offers the grantor and their loved ones peace of mind and financial security.

Gifting Assets to Family Members

Gifting assets to family members is a popular Medicaid planning strategy to help individuals reduce their total asset value and become eligible for Medicaid benefits. However, if not done correctly, this strategy has potentially unwelcome consequences.

When gifting assets, understanding the rules and regulations surrounding asset transfers is critical to avoiding penalties or other legal issues. While the IRS allows gifting of $17,000 in 2023 without tax implications, Medicaid gifting rules have different requirements. For example, in New York, an individual cannot make gifts or uncompensated transfers over $2,000 without incurring a penalty period during which they will be ineligible for Medicaid benefits. The individual must gift the assets at least five years before applying for Medicaid to prevent penalties or eligibility delays.

Given the complexity of the process and potential risks involved with gifting assets, seek legal advice from an experienced NY Medicaid lawyer before engaging in this strategy. A knowledgeable attorney can guide individuals through the process of legally transferring assets while minimizing potential risks.

Converting Countable Assets

Converting countable assets into exempt assets that do not count toward eligibility requirements involves assets such as life insurance policies and annuities, which the law does not regard as resources. However, they can provide financial security in case of illness or disability.

Medicaid Asset-Protection Trusts (MAPTs)

A Medicaid Asset-Protection Trust (also known as a Miller Trust) offers exceptional benefits for Medicaid planning. This irrevocable trust allows individuals to protect their assets by transferring them into it while qualifying for benefits.

An experienced New York Medicaid attorney can explain the different asset protection trusts and how they protect assets from Medicaid. Planning ahead is crucial while seeking to utilize this took for Medicaid eligibility and asset protection.

Pooled Income Trusts

A pooled income trust (PIT) is a valuable financial resource that enables individuals to meet the income requirements for Medicaid, even if their earnings surpass the established limits. Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in administering and overseeing the funds within this trust. In New York State, both individuals with disabilities and adults over 65 years of age have the opportunity to contribute their income or surplus income to a pooled trust. By opting for this arrangement, individuals can find solace in knowing that Medicaid requirements are adequately addressed.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance can help pay for the costs of a nursing home or other necessary services and alleviate some of the financial burden accompanying long-term care. It is important to evaluate the level of coverage that the policy provides when using long-term care insurance as your primary strategy to cover long-term care costs. Consult an experienced New York Medicaid attorney or Long Term Care Insurance provider who can share information about the various providers and policies on the East End of Long Island.

When to Consult a New York Medicaid Attorney

Concerning Medicaid planning, multiple strategies abound. Due to the complexity of the laws, hiring an experienced New York Medicaid planning attorney is crucial because they understand the nuances and can provide tailored advice that meets each individual’s needs.

When is it Time to Consult a New York Medicaid Attorney?

Changes in one’s financial situation or assets, legal disputes about eligibility, and income and asset fluctuations can have profound legal implications for Medicaid eligibility, and a qualified attorney can help individuals and families navigate them. A good Medicaid planning lawyer will advise on the multiple strategies to ensure an individual remains eligible for Medicaid benefits and help them interpret and respond appropriately if someone is already dealing with a legal dispute.

When selecting an attorney, look for someone with a singular focus on Medicaid and estate planning. They can provide comprehensive advice on all aspects of Medicaid planning, from understanding the rules and regulations to protecting assets while still receiving needed healthcare.

Sheryll Law, P.C. Provides Medicaid Planning Services from Experienced New York Medicaid Planning Attorneys on the East End of Long Island

At Sheryll Law, P.C., we know that finding the right attorney for Medicaid planning is not a decision to take lightly. With our focus on Medicaid planning and estate planning, we know the rules of the game and explain them to everyone who consults with us. We educate our clients to enable them to make smart decisions and accomplish their objectives.

Contact Sheryll Law today at (631) 506-8440 or complete our online form to schedule a consultation to learn more about how our experienced team of attorneys can assist in protecting assets from Medicaid.

Copyright © 2023. Sheryll Law, P.C. All rights reserved.

The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.


Sheryll Law, P.C.
633 East Main Street, Suite 2
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 506-8440