Experience is Critical

BENJAMIN B. deFOREST, Attorney at Law

Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Asset Protection, Probate.

Experience is critical in Elder Law and Medicaid Planning.

Attorney Benjamin B. deForest has been in practice over 35 years with the last 25 years focused in the area of Elder Law and Medicaid Planning. Assisting families with the sometimes daunting task and questions about Nursing Home Admissions, Medicaid, and how to pay for Nursing Home care while also protecting as much of the spouse’s or family nest egg as possible.

Proper Medicaid planning can require execution of the right legal documents, structuring assets, making gifts to ultimately benefit the children or other heirs, assisting in finding a proper Nursing Home, maximizing the assets and lifestyle of the "well" spouse at home, protecting assets from the Ohio Medicaid Estate Recovery Program after Medicaid is achieved, and planning for other end of life issues.

It is almost always better to plan early but it is also NEVER too late to plan even if the individual is about to enter the Facility or has ALREADY entered the facility. The 5 year look-back rule will not prevent gifts, even then, if done with the right legal strategy. Generally speaking at least somewhere around 60% to 70% or more of the "Over-Resourced" amount can be protected, if not more, through the right techniques, legal strategies done in the right way, and the right order. This is where experience matters.

I am able to meet family at the Nursing Facility, Assisted Living Facility or the family residence. Or if the Children wish to meet with me privately first to discuss things that can be done as well.




8161 Athens Ave. N.W.
Massillon OH 44646


Elder Law Attorney Benjamin deForest Ohio Medicaid Asset Protection

Areas of Practice


Medicaid is a Federal Program which will pay for the cost of the nursing home based on medical need and on the finances of the individual or the married couple. This Federal program is administered at the State and County levels. It is one of the most complex areas of law and requires a skilled and experienced professional to navigate.

Medicaid Planning

Medicaid Planning is the process by which a single resident or spouse of a resident in a Nursing Home, who is not eligible due to the amount of assets they have, is still able to obtain Medicaid Eligibility by using exemptions and conversion of assets into income. This can mean a spouse, who might be $100,000.00 over the eligibility limits for Medicaid, can yet immediately obtain Medicaid for her husband. Medicaid planning is perfectly legal.

Asset Protection and Estate Recovery

Asset Protection is the process by which a person’s assets are protected from being unnecessarily spent on the Nursing Facility. This is done through a combination of maximizing exempt assets, structuring assets that are deemed available into a stream of income so that they are no longer an asset, or if necessary gifts can be made even if the client is already in the Nursing Facility and despite the well known “5 Year Look-Back Rule”. In addition, once Medicaid Eligibility is obtained, it is critical to then have the Institutionalized spouse’s name removed from assets such as the home, most bank accounts, as beneficiary of life insurance polices, and other assets to prevent the state of Ohio from recovering against those assets. If this step is not taken, and the “well” spouse at home predeceases her institutionalized Husband, allowing the institutionalized spouse to inherit all assets, Medicaid will terminate for the institutionalized spouse. This can be easily avoided with the correct planning.

Financial Powers of Attorney

One of the most critical documents needed is a Financial Power of Attorney. This document allows a loved one to step into the shoes of the institutionalized person and make necessary changes to assets when needed. Due to the evolution in the way financial institutions honor Financial Powers of Attorney over the years it is critical that the document be sufficient for what needs to be done with assets. Without this document planning could be defeated.


Probate is the process by which a person who dies owning assets solely in their name, (not jointly, and with no beneficiary designations) has a Probate estate opened in their County Probate Court, an Executor or Administrator is appointed to handle the affairs, and the assets are able to be accessed and legally distributed to the heirs.

Probate Avoidance

Probate avoidance is the process by which assets can easily be re-registered in a way that they pass directly to the desired heirs without having to go through the Probate Court and no estate needs opened. It can save a great deal of time and money upon the passing of a loved one

Connecticut’s Supreme Court once likened the federal and state laws that make up the Medicaid system to a “Serbonian bog
— Ross v. Giardi, 680 A.2nd 113 (Conn. 1996)
The United States Supreme Court has called Medicaid laws “an aggravated assault on the English language, resistant to attempts to understand it.”
— Schweiker v. Gray Panthers, 453 U.S. 34 (1981).
The United States Fourth Circuit Appeals Court has called the Medicaid Act one of the “most completely impenetrable texts within human experience” and “dense reading of the most tortuous kind.”
— Rehab Association of Virginia v. Kozlowski, 42 F. 3d 1444, 1450 (4th Cir. 1994)