Medicaid planning v. personal responsibility


Estate of Denial® has written numerous pieces on Medicaid planning with the latest being a posting in April.  With ongoing interest in this topic, we took note of the following column:

The duty of any advisor is to do what’s in the client’s best interest, and any personal biases about the advice given needs to be left at home.

I’ve written a few articles over the years that have elicited some pretty nasty hate mail. The article that created the most hate mail was Medicaid planning using annuities is viable again.

Why hate mail? Because the article essentially told readers how to preserve a client’s assets for family members while at the same time getting the government to pay for their nursing home expenses.

You’d think I was evil for suggesting that advisors use the law to their client’s advantage. The typical comment read like the following: “How can you live with yourself? Telling clients how to re-title their assets so they can get the government to pay is immoral and bad for the society at large.”

It was the “bad for the society at large” comments that really bothered me.

I will admit that when you help clients with Medicaid planning, you save them money and cost the U.S. government and the state money. In other words, you are using taxpayer dollars instead of the clients’ own money to pay for their care.

Read more.


Medicaid planning: Should your advice be best for your clients or society at large?
Roccy DeFrancesco
January 31, 2012

Despite the temptation, we’re not going to spend time dissecting this piece.  Suffice to say that for some of us left here in America, access to welfare programs doesn’t factor in to our regular thinking.  We don’t live responsibly and below our means, go to the grocery store and then think “how can I reduce my income to be eligible for today’s food stamp programs?”  Last time when buying a house, the thought process didn’t include “I’m previewing houses in an affordable price range and have access to non-governmental financing options, but is there a way I get taxpayer-financed subsidies with this purchase?”  Indeed, personal responsibility still exists for some.  Meanwhile, should today’s professional service providers feel pressured to accommodate a differing perspective through forced performance of tasks with which they ethically disagree?

Should all doctors who see pregnant women be expected to perform abortions?  Or perhaps, if a woman expresses interest in that option (and this is not an endorsement of that action), the doctor acknowledges its existence and refers her elsewhere.  Should all CPA’s be experts in offshore tax avoidance schemes?  Or again, if a client wants such direction and the accountant has (nor desires) expertise or a comfort level in such activity, what’s wrong with sending them elsewhere?

And don’t most people seek  financial planning advice to ensure self-sufficiency, not government dependence?

Today’s probate environment already produces significant property rights threats from Involuntary Redistribution of Assets (IRA) actions via trusts, wills, guardianships and powers of attorney.  Hard-working, responsible Americans can’t afford – nor should they have to support – further fiscal threats posed through their fellow Americans contriving “need” in order to access taxpayer-funded services.

We do agree with the piece’s statement that says :  “For those who don’t like the laws of this land (like many who seem to take offense at proper Medicaid planning), take action to elect officials who will change the law.”  Estate of Denial® is an activist website and disseminating our point of view in numerous public policy circles occurs regularly.  New inspiration is always appreciated.

And for all who claim to embrace diversity, let’s just make sure that tolerance of opposing opinions falls into that category.