View History

16.6 Non-Burial Trusts

16.6.1 Non-Burial Trusts Introduction

16.6.2 Trust Principal

16.6.3 Revocable Trusts

16.6.4 Irrevocable Trusts

16.6.4.1 Trust Established With Resources of a Third Party

16.6.4.2 Trust Established With Resources of the Individual or Spouse

16.6.5 Special Needs Trust

16.6.6 Pooled Trusts

16.6.7 Ho-Chunk Tribal Trusts

16.6.1 Non-Burial Trusts Introduction

A trust is any arrangement in which a person (the "grantor") transfers property to another person with the intention that the person (the "trustee") hold, manage, or administer the property for the benefit of the grantor or of someone designated by the grantor (the "beneficiary").

 

The term "trust” includes any legal instrument or device or arrangement, which, even though not called a trust under state law, has the same attributes as a trust. That is, the grantor transfers property to the trustee and the grantor's intention is that the trustee hold, manage, or administer the property for the benefit of the grantor or of the beneficiary.

 

The grantor can be:

  1. The EBD Medicaid member,

  2. His or her spouse,

  3. A person, including a court or an administrative body, with legal authority to act in place of or on behalf of the member or the member’s spouse. This includes a power of attorney or a guardian, or

  4. A person, including a court or an administrative body, acting at the direction or upon the request of the member or the member’s spouse. This includes relatives, friends, volunteers or authorized representatives.

 

If the principal of a trust includes assets of the applicant/member or spouse, and the assets of any other person or persons, apply the policies in Section 16.6.3 Revocable Trusts and Section 16.6.4 Irrevocable Trusts to the portion of the trust attributable to the assets of the applicant/member or spouse.

16.6.2 Trust Principal

The trust principal is the amount placed in trust by the grantor plus any trust earnings paid into the trust and left to accumulate.

16.6.3 Revocable Trusts

A revocable trust is a trust which can be revoked, canceled or modified by the grantor or by a court. A trust which is called irrevocable, but which will terminate if some action is taken by the grantor, is considered a revocable trust.

 

The trust principal of a revocable trust is an available asset.

16.6.4 Irrevocable Trusts

An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot, in any way, be revoked by the grantor.

16.6.4.1 Trust Established With Resources of a Third Party

If the resources of someone other than the individual or their spouse (i.e., a third party),were used to form the principal of an irrevocable trust, the trust principal is not an available asset unless the terms of the trust permit the individual to require that the trustee distribute principal or income to him or her.

16.6.4.2 Trust Established With Resources of the Individual or Spouse

If the resources of the individual or the individual’s spouse were used to form all or part of the principal of the trust, some or all of the trust principal and income may be considered a non-exempt asset, available to the individual. If there are any circumstances under which payment from the trust could be made to or for the benefit of the individual at any time no matter how distant, the portion of the principal from which, or the income on the principal from which, payment to the individual could be made shall be considered non-exempt assets, available to the individual.

 

This treatment applies regardless of:

 

Example 1: Doug is a 65 year old Medicaid applicant. Several years ago, Doug transferred his life savings of $60,000 to an irrevocable trust, naming himself as the beneficiary. Doug’s brother, Jim was appointed as the trustee. Under the terms of the trust, Jim could disburse up to $10,000 annually, from either trust principal or trust income, either directly to Doug or indirectly to provide some benefit for Doug. The trustee had sole discretion as to when and how these trust disbursements would be made, but under no circumstance could they exceed $10,000 in a 12 month period. Because the entire corpus (principal of the fund) could eventually be distributed, $60,000 would be considered an available non-exempt asset for Doug’s Medicaid eligibility determination, even if the trustee decides not to make any actual disbursements.

 

Example 2: Al is a 65 year old Medicaid applicant. Six years ago, Al sold his farm for $300,000 and put the entire proceeds from the sale into an irrevocable trust, naming himself as the beneficiary. Al’s friend, Scott was appointed as the trustee. Under the terms of the trust, Scott could disburse any amount of trust principal or trust income, at any time, either directly to Al or indirectly to provide some benefit for Al. The trustee had sole discretion as to when and how disbursements would be made as well as the amount that could be disbursed. Therefore $300,000 would be considered an available non-exempt asset for Al’s Medicaid eligibility determination, even if the trustee never makes an actual disbursement.

 

Example 3: Dave is a 65 year old Medicaid applicant who won a $250,000 lottery several years ago and put the entire amount into an irrevocable trust, naming himself as the beneficiary. Dave appointed his brother Don as the trustee. Under the terms of the trust, none of the trust principal could ever be distributed to Dave during his lifetime. Don could only distribute the income that is produced by the trust to his brother Dave, and Don has sole discretion as to whether or not any income is actually distributed.

 

The trust principal would be an unavailable asset since the terms of the trust prohibit any distribution of trust principal during Dave’s lifetime. Any disbursements of trust income to Dave would be counted as income to Dave in the month of receipt. Because Don has the authority to distribute all of the income, any trust income which is not disbursed by Don, but instead remains in the trust, is considered to be an available asset.

 

Example 4: In this example, use the same facts as in example 3, except that the trust requires Don to distribute fifty percent of the generated income to Dave and add the remaining fifty percent to the principal where it will accumulate without distribution.

 

The half of the generated income that is paid to Don would be income in the month of receipt. The other half of the income would be an unavailable asset and tested for divestment

 

Note: If the grantor is an institutionalized person, their spouse, or someone acting on behalf of an institutionalized person, setting up an irrevocable trust may be a divestment (see Section 17.13 Trusts and Section 17.13.4 Exceptions).

 

The policies described above regarding irrevocable trusts do not apply to Special Needs and Pooled Trusts described in Section 16.6.5 Special Needs Trust and Section 16.6.6 Pooled Trusts. The policies described above also do not apply to irrevocable trusts created by a will, unless the terms of the trust permit the individual/beneficiary to require that the trustee distribute principal or income to him or her.

16.6.5 Special Needs Trust

Disregard special needs trusts, also called supplemental needs trusts, whose sole beneficiary is under age 65 and totally and permanently disabled (under SSI program rules) if they meet all of the following conditions:

 

 

Trusts that meet the above criteria but are not called a special or supplemental needs trust are treated as special needs trusts for Medicaid purposes. Trusts that are called special or supplemental needs trusts but do not meet the above criteria are not treated as special needs trusts for Medicaid purposes and availability must be determined according to the criteria in 16.6.3 Revocable Trusts or 16.6.4 Irrevocable Trusts.

 

The funds deposited in, contributions to, and distributions from the special needs trust are disregarded. The exception continues after the person turns 65, provided he or she continues to be disabled. However, a grantor cannot add to the trust after the beneficiary turns 65. Anything added to the trust after the beneficiary turns 65 is a divestment. Money added before the beneficiary turns 65 is not a divestment.

16.6.6 Pooled Trusts

Disregard pooled trusts for disabled persons managed by:

  1. WISH Pooled Trust

  2. WisPACT Trust I

  3. ARC of Greater Milwaukee, Inc. Community Trust II

 

Note: Contact the CARES CALL Center for instructions on treating any other pooled trusts.

 

The WISH Pooled Trust and the WisPACT Trust I must meet the following conditions:

  1. Are established and managed by a non-profit association. The pooled trust can contain funds that hold accounts funded by third parties for the benefit of the disabled person's own assets or income.

  2. Have separate accounts, within each fund, which are maintained for each beneficiary or the trust, but for purposes of investment and management of funds, the trust pools these accounts. There may be a separate fund with accounts that include or benefit persons who do not have a disability.

  3. Contain accounts with the funds of disabled individuals (based upon SSI and Medicaid rules) that are established solely for their benefit by a parent, grandparent, or legal guardian of such individuals, by such individuals, or by a court. If the account includes a residential dwelling, the individual must reside in that dwelling, but a spouse, caregiver or housemate can also live there with the Medicaid applicant/member.

  4. For WISH Trusts, if the account includes a residential dwelling, the individual must reside in that dwelling, but a spouse, caregiver or housemate can also live there with the Medicaid applicant/member. This requirement does not apply to WisPACT trusts.

  5. Repay Medicaid to the extent that amounts remaining upon death are not retained by the trust.

 

 

Note: The assets that have been placed in a potential pooled trust pending a disability determination are unavailable assets until the disability determination has been made. If the individual has been determined disabled by DDB, the pooled trust is an exempt asset as of the disability onset date. If the individual is not determined disabled, the assets are counted.

16.6.7 Ho-Chunk Tribal Trusts

The Ho-Chunk Tribe, under its tribal ordinances and in conjunction with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, establishes irrevocable trusts for tribal members who are minors or determined to be legally incompetent. These irrevocable trusts are funded primarily with per capita distribution payments derived from gaming revenue. DHS has determined that funds placed in these trusts, for the benefit of minors and individuals who are legally incompetent, are considered to be owned by the Ho-Chunk Tribe and not the trust beneficiary. Therefore, the irrevocable Ho-Chunk Tribal Trusts established for minors or legally incompetent tribal members are considered to be unavailable assets for the tribal member’s Medicaid eligibility determination.

 

 

 

This page last updated in Release Number: 19-01
Release Date: 4/19/2019
Effective Date: 4/19/2019