Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.

You probably won’t die in your sleep | Senior Lifestyles

  • Saturday, June 26, 2021 1:30pm
  • Life

Traditional estate planning is based on notions that are out of sync with today’s realities.

Is the goal of your estate plan to make things easier for your heirs after you’ve died peacefully in your sleep?

Most of us won’t have the luxury of dying in our sleep. Thanks to modern medicine, most of us will survive conditions that would have killed us in the past. Our remaining years will be spent dependent upon others to meet our basic needs.

The kind of estate planning that most people do today is based on a “healthy today/dead tomorrow” paradigm which creates unintended consequences for middle-income Americans. Most believe that Medicare will pick up the tab for any care needed during retirement. This is NOT the case. Medicare won’t pay for long-term care, which can cost up to $15,000 per month.

This will lead to financial ruin, especially if your estate is between $50,000 and $1.5 million. The best solution for those of us in the middle is to engage in legal planning that will allow us to access public benefits like Medicaid when we need long-term care.

How do you qualify? In most states, a single applicant aged 65 or older is permitted up to $2,000 in countable assets to be eligible for Medicaid. If a couple is married and both spouses are applying for nursing home Medicaid, they are typically allowed to have $4,000 in countable assets.

If you’re a single person who needs Medicaid to pay for long-term care, traditional advice will have you spending down assets in order to qualify. Many small to medium-sized estates are needlessly decimated by this outdated advice. If you’re married and your spouse needs Medicaid to pay for care, traditional estate planners can only offer one solution: spending down your nest egg. An Elder Law Attorney, by contrast, recognizes that Medicaid only requires your ill spouse to be impoverished but, with careful planning, you, the well spouse, can hold onto most if not all of your assets, including the house.

But what happens when your ill spouse dies? The traditional estate plan leaves you, the well spouse, with all the assets. This may seem like a non-issue, and it is, until you get sick and need to access Medicaid to pay for long-term care. At that time, you’ll be forced spend down your assets to $2,000. Another once-healthy nest egg is gone—poof—all because you followed conventional estate planning advice.

Can you avoid this financial disaster? The answer is yes. A Safe Harbor Trust is one option. But don’t expect to hear about it from the traditional financial planning or estate planning industries. This legal planning tool doesn’t fit into their “healthy today/dead tomorrow” paradigm. Your best bet is to call an elder law attorney.

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals. For more information, visit AgingOptions.com, LifePointLaw.com or call 877-762-4464.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@courierherald.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.courierherald.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in Life

The crowd at the 2018 Midsummer Festival. (Michael Grace-Dacosta photo)
At a glance | August 2021 events

Rodeo, car shows and more

Rajiv Nagaich is an elder law attorney, author, adjunct law school professor, and retirement planning visionary who has achieved national recognition for his cutting-edge work with retirees and his contributions to the practice of elder law. He is the founder of two firms based in Federal Way: Life Point Law, an elder law and estate planning firm, and AgingOptions, a firm that provides retirement-related education to consumers and professionals.
You probably won’t die in your sleep | Senior Lifestyles

Traditional estate planning is based on notions that are out of sync… Continue reading

2021 Lexus IS350 AWD F-Sport
Car review: 2021 Lexus IS350 AWD F-Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor When it comes to manufacturing compact luxury sports… Continue reading

2021 Mercedes-AMG E 63 S
Car review: 2021 Mercedes AMG E63 S sedan

By Larry Lark, contributor The latest incarnation of the Mercedes AMG E63… Continue reading

2021 Mazda3 Premium Plus
Car review: 2021 Mazda3 Premium Plus

By Larry Lark, contributor The Mazda3 has always looked the part of… Continue reading

2021 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 Trail Special Edition
Car review: 2021 Toyota 4Runner 4×4 Trail Special Edition

By Larry Lark, contributor If the great outdoors is your playground, it… Continue reading

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
Taking an upstream approach to preventing LGBTQ youth cannabis use | Public Health Insider

LGBTQ youth report the highest rates of marijuana use in King County.

Kathie Nguyen embraces Eileen & Callie's Place founder Dr. Natalie Ellington. Celebrate 18!, hosted on July 13, 2019, was also the day of Ellington's birthday. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo
Nonprofit to host birthday party for girls aging out of the foster care system

Eileen & Callie’s Place is hosting Celebrate 18!, a celebration and resource event, Saturday, July 17.

The Blues Brothers was one of the acts to grace the Buckley Concert Series in 2019. The 2020 concert series was canceled due to the pandemic. This year, the Blues Brothers will not be making an appearance during the series. Photo by Kevin Hanson
Free and outdoors, summer concerts set for Enumclaw, Buckley

Rock n’ roll, blues, jazz and more coming July, August

Image courtesy Public Health Insider
Supporting survivors of domestic violence during COVID-19 | Public Health Insider

DV-related homicides in King County nearly doubled in 2020, as compared to 2018 and 2019.

This scooter, along with other prizes, could be yours if you donate to Bloodworks Northwest this summer.
Donate blood, win an electric scooter, sports memorabilia

Regional non-profit Bloodworks Northwest faces a shortage of blood donations

Courtesy image
Small artwork wanted for juried art exhibit at county fair

Deadline to submit your art is June 25.