Definitions for Incapacity Planning

Conservatorships/Guardianships

A court-supervised proceeding to name an individual or entity to manage the affairs and assets of an incapacitated person.  In incapacity planning, this is necessary where the person either did not execute a General Durable Power of Attorney prior to incapacity or when their General Durable Power of Attorney does grant sufficient powers to the Agent to accomplish the planning goals.

 Divestment

The transfer of assets either as gifts or at less than their fair market value for the purpose of reducing the value of an estate to qualify for government benefits like Medicaid.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health

When you sign a Power of Attorney for Health, you appoint someone else to act on your behalf for medical matters.  This person is known as your Health Care Agent.

General Durable Power of Attorney

When you implement Power of Attorney, you are appointing someone else to act on your behalf for matters that do not concern medical decisions. This person is also known as your Agent or your Attorney-in-Fact.  A General Durable Power of Attorney sets out the general (as opposed to medical) powers you are granting to your Agent and authorizes them to act even after you become incapacitated.

Gifting Language

This is special language that can be drafted and included with your Trust and Power of Attorney to authorize the gifting of assets if making the gifts help you qualify for medical assistance or other government programs.

HIPAA Release

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 2003 (HIPAA) creates privacy protections for medical information preventing doctors and hospitals from releasing your personal health information unless you otherwise specify in a HIPAA release. The HIPAA release allows the individuals you name to communicate with medical providers regarding your otherwise protected medical information.

Living Will

When you sign a Living Will, you tell your doctors your wishes about keeping you alive artificially in specific medical situations and you authorize your Health Care Agent to consent to those procedures necessary to carry out your wishes.

Lookback Period

The period of time Medicaid can review to determine if you have sold assets at less than their true value or gifted assets to reduce the value of your estate and qualify you for government assistance.  The current Lookback period is 60 months from the application for benefits.

Medicaid

Federal government assistance run by each state to provide financial help to individuals who need skilled nursing care.  In Wisconsin, eligibility for Medicaid is determined by the value of a person’s assets.

Medicare

Federal government health insurance.  Medicare covers eligible individuals’ health care needs but does not cover long term care housing costs if the care is necessary for longer than just rehabilitation after an illness or injury.

Penalty Period

The amount of time Medicaid rules that you are not eligible for benefits due to gifts or reduced value sales that occur during the Lookback Period.

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