We would like to alert you to some important changes in the law that may affect Veterans or their spouses.  New rules were enacted on September 18 by the Veterans Administration (VA) that make it more difficult for Veterans to receive governmental assistance when applying for long-term care.  The new rules go into effect on October 18, 2018.

Beginning on October 18, gifts made in the past 36 months, either to a family member or to an irrevocable trust, will be penalized.  Likewise, an investment in an annuity would also be penalized. This means a Veteran or surviving spouse could be prohibited from qualifying for VA pension benefits for up to 5 years, depending on the amount of the gift or transfer.  There are other requirements to the new rules, but the above are the most impactful to any wartime Veteran or surviving spouse wishing to pursue these benefits and receive a monthly cash benefit to help with long-term care costs.

The good news is, anyone wishing to qualify can still take advantage of the current rules where there is no penalty for making gifts or transferring funds to an irrevocable trust.  But they have to act quickly.

At Legacy Law Firm, P.C., we are a boutique law firm that focuses exclusively on estate planning, elder law planning and business planning.  Our elder law practice incorporates a wide range of planning in this specialized area, including long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, and asset protection planning.  We are committed to helping seniors and the people who love them manage the changes that come with growing older. Whether clients themselves have concerns or have concerns for their parents, we work to help seniors and their families preserve independence, family assets and avoid spousal hardship.

If you know of a Veteran who is in need of long-term care, now is the time to investigate his or her ability to qualify for the VA pension benefit before the new rules go into effect.  Likewise, if you know someone who is worried about running out of money to pay for the nursing home or they are already in the nursing home and are running out of money, we are happy to visit about planning options to protect the family and assets.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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