Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers the following question:
"How Do I Hide My Assets From Medicaid?"
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This is Attorney Thomas Burton and today's question is the following:
“How do I hide my assets from Medicaid?”
So this is a question I see come up from time to time and I'm going to tell you straight up the short answer is you cannot hide your assets from Medicaid, that's a violation of federal law, punishable as a crime, if you submit a Medicaid application and you hide any assets on the Medicaid application.
So I do not counsel anyone to hide assets from Medicaid. It's against the law. Medicaid is a Federal Program, federally funded, administered by the state of Wisconsin, but you could run into serious penalties for hiding assets from the Medicaid Program. However, what you can do is do Medicaid pre-planning. Legally the law allows, if you do it in advance, generally, five years in advance, there are ways to protect some of your assets such as the family farm or your home, from the Medicaid asset, from the estate recovery program after you're gone.
So what you cannot do is own an asset in your name and hide it from the Medicaid Program and not list down on the Medicaid application. That's a crime. If you engage in pre-planning, there are ways to gift or move assets before you need Medicaid, Medicaid pre-planning, that are legal and allowed as long as they're done five years before you need the Medicaid Program.
Now, it's more complicated than that. So you should only do this if you're working with the qualified estate planning attorney, but be aware there are ways to legally preserve assets and qualify for Medicaid, but that's different from hiding assets. Hiding assets would be a crime and it's something you would not want to do.
I always tell my clients, we are going to list everything completely on the Medicaid application because you want to make sure everything's on there because if they later find an asset, let's say you just forgot to include, they can revoke your Medicaid eligibility or it can really hold up your application. So the much better method is to engage in Medicaid pre-planning and then you can disclose everything on the application. There are also certain assets you're allowed to keep and working with a qualified lawyer can help you maximize those assets.
So great question and again don't hide assets from the Medicaid Program, only engage in pre-planning and I recommend, you work with a qualified estate planning attorney to do so.
Great question and thank you for asking.
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