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Non-attorney Medicaid Planners may be able to obtain approval of a Medicaid application, but may leave a family vulnerable.  I am working with a family whose father went into a nursing home last year.  The mother continued to live in the home and visited her husband daily.  They had limited resources and were referred to a non-attorney Medicaid planner who would help them obtain Medicaid eligibility for the husband’s stay at the nursing home.  The Medicaid application is daunting so the daughter needed assistance.  The Florida Supreme Court defined the unlicensed practice of law in a Supreme Court opinion.  It is unclear to me whether the non-attorney Medicaid planner violated that opinion.  However, what is clear to me, is that the family did not get all of the assistance that they needed because, while the husband was approved for Medicaid, no one considered what would happen if the wife predeceased him.  The wife has recently died and all of her assets passed by beneficiary designation back to the husband. Now the family is grieving their mother’s death and have the additional problem of restructuring assets and reapplying for Medicaid. The husband is no longer eligible for the Medicaid benefit that he had been receiving.  Had proper planning been done in conjunction with the Medicaid application, she could have left whatever assets she had in a Qualified Special Needs Trust for her husband and he could have maintained Medicaid eligibility.  Now the family is facing privately paying for nursing home services until adequate planning can take place to reassume eligibility.

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