While it may seem harmless to have a social worker or expert staff member at a loved one’s nursing home help with Medicaid planning, this practice is actually illegal according to Texas law.
Why is it illegal?
According to the Texas Human Resources Code Section 12.001, any person who is not licensed to practice law in the state of Texas commits a Class A misdemeanor if that person charges a fee for assisting in Medicaid planning or for falsely representing themselves as ‘Medicaid planners.’
An increasing number of Medicaid planning services misguide the elderly and their loved ones on how to obtain Medicaid benefits. Mistakes made by non-attorneys can exploit clients and can threaten future Medicaid eligibility or ruin savings. These services are also often unregulated, without any certification or educational standards to abide by.
What is Medicaid Planning?
Medicaid planning can help you establish trusts, restructure assets and income, provide aid in obtaining Medicaid eligibility, and give general advice regarding Medicaid benefits. It is a complex process that can be very complicated for those without proper training and education especially considering every Medicaid applicant has different medical and financial circumstances surrounding their case.
Because Medicaid planning requires extensive legal knowledge in addition to experience with Medicaid, Texas, along with other states, has made Medicaid assistance by non-attorneys an unauthorized practice of law.
How To Protect Yourself
While some companies may try to protect themselves by advertising that they work with attorneys, this still doesn’t provide more legitimacy to their practice. Some states protect you even further by stating that attorneys violate bar rules by affiliating with non-attorney Medicaid planners.
Too often mistakes are made in the Medicaid application process that can be prevented with proper planning. The best way to protect you and your loved ones is employing an experienced attorney who practices elder law and Medicaid planning.
If you need assistance navigating Medicaid eligibility, contact the Law Office of Christina Lesher, PC today at (713) 529-5900.