As medical prices continue to rise at unprecedented rates, many people, especially older Americans, are understandably concerned about the cost of their future medical needs. While Medicare was developed to help retired people afford medical care, it does not necessarily cover medical emergencies. The federal government, in cooperation with each state, has set aside money to help people with medical emergencies. This is called Medicaid, and it was developed to assist low- or fixed-income people with emergency care.

While the program was designed to help during an emergency, the process of applying for Medicaid is anything but fast. While it does not take as long as many people believe, if you don’t have help from a lawyer who understands how the system works, it can take a long time to get everything together. Even then, there are no guarantees that your application will be accepted.

Reduce the chance of rejection or improve your chances of acceptance with help from the attorney at Safe Harbor Wills & Trusts in Watertown and Syracuse. When you hire our firm, we will work to represent your interests in a way that one else will. We can help you find the best ways to protect your assets, including Medicaid spend-down, or placing some of your assets into a trust.

If you don’t have a need for Medicaid right now but you are concerned about losing everything you have worked so hard for over your lifetime, we can help you find methods of asset protection that are legal and will provide you with the peace of mind that you need.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more.


The “Greatest Generation” is dying broke due to long-term care costs. At Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts, we understand that older Americans have special legal needs and concerns. We also understand the importance of being able to rely upon trained and skilled professionals when you are dealing with the assets you have accumulated over a lifetime. Every day we help families protect and preserve their assets so that they are not lost to nursing home costs.


Am I Qualified For Medicaid?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked. You might have heard that it takes five years, but that is simply not true. Sometimes you might be qualified already and not even know it. Watch our video to learn more.


Medicaid Rules And Planning

Medicaid is a Federal benefits program, not unlike Social Security and Medicare. In fact, the money to fund Medicaid comes out of the same money with which you funded Social Security and Medicare. Medicaid planning is the process of legally and properly protecting your assets so that you may qualify to have Medicaid pay for either skilled in-home care or long-term skilled nursing care, should those needs arise.

There are many different rules and requirements you must meet when applying and qualifying for Medicaid. Now, more than ever, money-strapped governmental agencies are making it more and more difficult to meet the numerous and intricate requirements set down by the Federal Medicaid law. Failing to follow those rules can have disastrous financial consequences for you and your family, including being denied Medicaid benefits all together.

If you want to save your house and you transfer it your children, not only will it result in immediate ineligibility for Medicaid, but it could also:

  • Trigger a gift tax
  • Result in the loss of your STAR tax exemption
  • Result in your child’s spouse (your son or daughter in-law) inheriting your home when your child dies.

Also, when you give your assets away, it means that you have given up control. Even if you trust your kids, what happens if they get divorced, go bankrupt, get sued, or die before you do? Your house (and anything else you gave away to “protect it”) may be lost. There are asset protection trusts that permit you to keep complete control of your assets without the risk of losing them if long-term care is needed. These trusts allow you to keep control so you don’t have to worry about losing your assets.


Medicaid Myths

Forget what you think you know – Medicaid is a complicated program to navigate without all of the facts.

Did you know that:

  • It doesn’t take five years to qualify for Medicaid.
  • It’s never too late to qualify for Medicaid.
  • You can give away money and still get Medicaid, but only if it is done correctly.
  • You don’t have to spend all of your money before you can qualify for Medicaid.
  • A knowledgeable attorney can save you tens of thousands of dollars in nursing home costs.
  • Eligibility is calculated on a case-by-case basis. You likely won’t get the same results as someone else.
  • A nursing home or hospital that offers to file a Medicaid application for you has no obligation (and often can’t) advise you on how to protect your assets.
  • Only a qualified Medicaid planning attorney will be looking out for your interests.
  • Applying for Medicaid too early could result in being disqualified for a longer period of time than you otherwise would have been.

Make sure the attorney you hire is trained and experienced in Medicaid planning. Would you go to your family doctor for a heart problem?

If you are in a nursing home or going into a nursing home, do not apply for Medicaid until you have spoken to an elder law attorney! This simple mistake could cost you tens of thousands of dollars! Please call our offices for immediate help.

Get professional advice from our Syracuse and Watertown elder law and asset protection attorney and learn the facts. Schedule your initial meeting today to see how quickly you can qualify for Medicaid and how much money you can save for your loved ones.