If you’re a farmer here in Arkansas, there’s a good chance your land has been in the family for generations, and you want to ensure that it is passed down to your children. Among the most common questions Arkansans ask estate planning attorneys is how they can protect their property if they have to go into a nursing home.
The Rising Costs of Nursing Homes
Unfortunately, the rising cost of nursing home care puts quality care out of reach for many Americans. Nursing homes in Arkansas can cost over $120 per day for a shared room! On average, Arkansans living in nursing homes have to pay close to $50,000 per year for room, food, and care.
Don’t Count on Social Security
While people who had traditional careers might be able to fall back on Social Security or a hard-won pension, farmers don’t often have that luxury—especially if you’ve filed as a sole proprietor under the IRS’ Form F or are using tax deductions to put yourself at a loss each year.
Medicaid Has Limitations, Too
Medicaid can be a real lifeline for people who do not have the savings or income needed to pay for a nursing home. If you qualify for Medicaid in Arkansas, you can be confident that you will get the care you need in a nursing home. However, you should be aware that the Medicaid Recovery Program could place a lien on the family farm, and, after your death, your family might be forced to sell the farm to pay off the lien. A long-term stay in an expensive nursing home could result in a bill exceeding $100,000! That means your farmland, livestock, crops, and legacy will be at risk.
Advance Planning Is Critical
If you’re determined to protect your family farm at all costs while ensuring your last days are comfortable, you will need to plan well in advance. There are, thankfully, a variety of legal tools to help you get the Medicaid benefits you need without running the risk of losing everything your family has worked for. However, you will have to begin planning long before you ever move to a nursing home.
Trusts Help Protect and Preserve What’s Already Yours
Your best shot is moving your farm into an irrevocable asset protection trust. This will allow you to continue managing your lands until your death—after which, they will pass directly to your heirs without being subject to a Medicaid lien. An estate planning attorney who has experience working with farmers and ranchers in Arkansas can help you explore your options and do what’s best for your property and your family.
Don’t put off your protection plan indefinitely. We can help you not only protect your children’s birthright but create a comprehensive wealth management plan that will best position you for retirement and beyond. To learn more, send us a message or give us a call today.