States are in charge of qualifying people needing long-term care for Medicaid, and they’re getting stricter. To be eligible in most states, seniors generally can’t have more than $2,000 in cash and investments. But there are still situations when asset-rich families need assistance. Contact a lawyer before paring down assets to try and qualify. Regulators will consider any gifts made in the last five years – called a “look back” period. However, there are options to preserve some assets and possibly still qualify for help, such as buying lifetime long-term care insurance to cover the look-back period or setting up a trust. An irrevocable asset-protection trust set up more than five years in advance could work, if properly drafted.

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