If gifting is part of your estate plan, then you need to make sure that you have also considered how those gifts might influence your ability to qualify for Medicaid. It will depend on your medical situation when you gave the gift, who you gave the gift to and when you made the gift.
The general rule is that transfers made 5 years before you need Medicaid do not disqualify you. However, transfers made after that do. An exception often exists for charitable gifts. Other gifts often need to be paid back or Medicaid will not pay for care until the value of the gifts are exceeded by the costs of care. There is a way around this if a doctor certifies that at the time of the gift you were healthy and would not soon need long term care. However, that exception is not one that should be reasonably relied upon.
Gifting can be a part of your estate plan even if you anticipate needing Medicaid to pay for your long term care. However, you should talk to an attorney about when and how to give your gifts so that you do not accidentally exclude yourself from the Medicaid coverage that you need. Failure to do so can have dire consequences.
The Mendel Law Firm, L.P. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.