Asset Planning seminar delivers disappointing news and offers optimistic answers for seniors
For generations adults have been told to work hard, save their money, invest wisely and so forth so that they will have something to live on after retirement. Many have taken those words to heart, hoping to be able to leave money, land, homes and more to their children once they pass away.
What they weren’t told however, is the unfortunate reality that despite a lifetime of hard work and saving, all of those earned assets may one day do more harm than good.
This was in-part, some of the message that more than 50 senior citizens heard during an Asset Planning seminar which took place June 29 at the Cherokee Village Senior Center.
The purpose of the meeting was to inform those in attendance of how to protect their assets should they or their spouse have to move to a nursing home.
Speakers Vincent Provenzano of EagleCrest Nursing and Rehab and Samantha Layne of Arkansas Asset Protection Group [AAPG], were the speakers for the meeting.
“My role here today is to tell you some horror stories of people that had to go and I love EagleCrest. It’s nice, but I don’t want to go live there unless I have to and that is the boat most people are in; you don’t want to go live there unless you have to,” Provenzano said. “When you have to and you haven’t planned for it, you have some rude awakenings coming your way because the financial piece is very difficult.”
He expanded on his statement stating that the topic at hand was long-term care and not short rehabilitation stents following surgery at a hospital or something of that nature.
“If you get cancer and can’t stay at home, you or your spouse get dementia and can’t take care of your loved one or yourself, have a stroke or just get to that age where you can’t do it at home anymore; those are the people we’re talking about today,” Provenzano said. “Things happen and you didn’t plan for it and so what we want to do is to plug you into those resources. You don’t have to spend your own money at a nursing home. There are a lot of urban legends about that.”
Provenzano said his job is to help those who are seeking entry into his long term care facility to qualify, but said in some cases; failure to plan had left those needing help in a position where help wasn’t possible.
He shared a story of a woman who lived in a rural community with her husband and the couple had purchased a second home as an investment. Over time, lots became available and so the couple purchased multiple lots very inexpensively and then retained the properties.
“There are two [terms] you need to be familiar with; countable and non-countable assets. Everything you own will be in one of those two categories and it’s important,” Provenzano said. “Countable assets are the ones that will get you in trouble.”
Examples of non-countable assets included a home, one vehicle, household contents and a pre-paid burial. Examples of countable assets included a checking account, $2,000 or less in countable income, cash value life insurance, non-home real estate which includes any property not clamed as the primary residents nor immediately attached to the primary residence, additional vehicles, CDs, any savings accounts and IRA’s.
“Her husband had a stroke and so we started talking about long-term care and as I asked questions. I found out about the investment property and all of these other lots she had bought. Sure, she only paid $50 for them but according to the county, they were worth a couple thousand dollars each. She couldn’t give them away, couldn’t sell them for what they were worth and couldn’t get her husband on Medicaid any time in the near future. It was one of the few cases where the professionals don’t know how to help you. You have to help yourself a little bit [by planning ahead].”
Layne also spoke to the group and discussed briefly what Medicaid LTC is and what it covers as well as what the qualifications of Medicaid LTC are.
Some of the qualifications included a legitimate medical need which would warrant long-term care of more than 90 days, less than $2,205 per month in income and $2,000 or less in countable income.
As the audience began to ask questions, they were informed that Arkansas is a “common law” and if a couple is married; their property isn’t exempt from the liquidation requirements in order to be approved for Medicaid LTC.
For example, placing an asset in a spouse’s name in order to protect it doesn’t protect the asset in Arkansas, as the property is viewed as “what’s his is her’s and what’s her’s is his”.
The audience continued to ask questions regarding trusts, properties outside the state and more; however, they learned that only specific types of trusts in existence for five years or more were considered non-countable, properties other than the homestead were considered countable and more.
Although the answers the audience received may not have been what they had hoped to hear, Layne provided a knowledgeable and upfront answer to each question helping those in attendance to become informed so they could prepare and plan ahead.
Layne’s company, AAPG specializes in asset protection and works in a one on one capacity to help ensure assets are protected while helping families or individuals to position themselves for the future.
During her time speaking, Layne gave multiple positive examples in which her company was able to help not only protect assets, but help families to retain the assets, finances and property they had worked so hard to acquire over their lifetimes.
Layne also said should anyone have interest in learning more about how to protect assets, she would be more than happy to meet with individuals and can be reached by phone at 501-251-1050 or by e-mail at Samantha@arassetprotection.com. If you would like to learn more about the company and what they are able to do, you may visit www.arassetprotection.com.