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17.13 Trusts

17.13.1 Trusts Introduction

17.13.2 Revocable Trusts

17.13.3 Irrevocable Trusts

17.13.4 Exceptions

 

17.13.1 Trusts Introduction

"Trust" is any arrangement in which a person (the "grantor") transfers property to another person with the intention that 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 that is similar to a trust.

 

"Legal instrument or device similar to a trust" means any legal instrument, 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. For purposes of this section, an individual shall be considered to have established a trust if assets of the individual are used to form all or part of the corpus (principal) of the trust.

 

"Grantor" may be:

  1. The 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 his or her spouse. This includes a power of attorney or a guardian.

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

17.13.2 Revocable Trusts

A revocable trust is a trust that 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.

  1. The trust principal of a revocable trust is an available asset. “Trust principal” is the amount placed in trust by the grantor plus any trust earnings paid into the trust and left to accumulate.

  2. All payments from the trust to or for the benefit of the institutionalized person are income.

  3. All payments from the trust that are not to or for the benefit of the institutionalized person are divestment.

17.13.3 Irrevocable Trusts

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

 

The following actions are divestment if they took place during the look back period (see Section 17.3 Look Back Period) or any time after:

  1. An irrevocable trust was created. The divested amount is the total amount of the created trust.

 

Sometimes revocable trusts contain a clause that causes them to become irrevocable at a later date in the life of the trust. Divestment occurs on the date the trust changed from revocable to irrevocable.

 

Example 1: In 1998, Benny created a revocable trust fund of $100,000 for his daughter. There was a clause in the trust stating the trust would become irrevocable if Benny became incompetent. He was determined incompetent on February 2, 2007, and the trust changed from revocable to irrevocable. Benny entered an institution and applied for Medicaid in July 2008. He divested the total amount of the trust on February 2, 2007.

 

  1. Funds were added to the irrevocable trust. The divested amount is the amount of the added funds.

 

If either of these actions took place before the look back period, apply the following rules:

  1. Payments to the institutionalized person from trust income or from the body of the trust are income.

  2. Payments that could be disbursed to the institutionalized person from trust income or from any portion of the body of the trust but that are not disbursed are available assets.

  3. Payments from the trust to anyone other than the institutionalized person are divestment.

17.13.4 Exceptions

The policies described in this trusts section do not apply to any of the following trusts.

  1. Annuities (see Section 17.11 Annuities).

  2. Irrevocable burial trusts (see Section 16.5.1 Burial Trusts).

  3. Trusts established by a will.

  4. Special needs trust: A trust containing assets of a person under age 65 who is totally and permanently disabled (under SSI program rules). Disregard the trust if it meets the conditions in Section 16.6.5 Special Needs Trust.

  1. Pooled trusts (Effective 09-01-08).

Pooled Trusts Not Subject to Divestment

Pooled Trusts Subject to Divestment

Third Party Funded Pooled Trusts For Individuals Not Yet Declared Disabled

List of Pooled Trusts

 

  1. Pooled Trusts Not Subject to Divestment

These are trusts for disabled persons as determined by SSI rules. Disregard them if they meet the following conditions:

  1. Are established and managed by a non-profit association, and
  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 people who do not have a disability, and
  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.

 

Note: If a WISH trust 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 does not apply to a WisPACT trust, and

 

  1. Repay Medicaid to the extent that amounts remaining upon death are not retained by the trust.
    1. This requirement can be satisfied when the individual trust account contains liquid assets and has a balance by returning that amount to the Medicaid program after subtracting a reasonable amount for administrative costs.
    2. This requirement can also be satisfied when the pooled trust account includes real property, and the real property is retained by the pooled trust so long as the property continues to be used by another Medicaid member who is disabled (as established under SSI rules) or elderly (age 65 years or older). In addition, if the account contains liquid assets that had been used to help maintain the real property, the account funds may be retained to continue to maintain the housing that will be used by another Medicaid member, and
  1. The trust was established with the funds of a disabled individual of any age. These would be considered “self-funded” trusts, and the age of the disabled individual at the time the trust was created, is irrelevant.

 

  1. Pooled Trusts Subject to Divestment

A pooled trust established with the funds of a third party on or after September 1, 2008, for a disabled individual, age 65 or over will not be exempt from the divestment penalty provisions, if the third party subsequently applies for Medicaid. The divestment penalty is applied to the third party who created the pooled trust unless the trust beneficiary is the third party’s disabled child. Similarly, contributions/additions to a pooled trust by a third party, made after the disabled beneficiary turns 65 will also be subject to divestment penalty provisions if the third party (trust grantor) subsequently applies for Medicaid.

 

  1. Third Party Funded Pooled Trusts For Individuals Not Yet Declared Disabled

Third party funded pooled trusts for individuals applying for disability status are not subject to divestment if:

  1. They have placed their assets in a potential pooled trust, and
  2. They meet all of the conditions in 5 I above, and
  3. The potential disabled individual has initiated the disability determination process prior to September 1, 2008, and
  4. They are over age 65.

 

“Initiating the disability determination process” means that the individual must have asked either the county agency, the SSA, or DDB for a disability determination.

 

  1. Trusts for Disabled Individuals. A trust for a disabled individual is a trust established solely for the benefit of the grantor's disabled child (regardless of the child's age), or solely for the benefit of any other disabled individual who is under 65 years of age. The disability status is the same as that which is determined under SSI rules. The exception continues after the beneficiary turns age 65, provided he or she continues to be disabled. However, a grantor cannot add to the trust after the beneficiary turns age 65, unless the beneficiary is his or her disabled child. Anything added to the trust after the beneficiary turns age 65 (except for a beneficiary who is the grantor's disabled child) is a divestment. Money added before the beneficiary turns age 65 is not a divestment.
 

Note: Unlike special needs and pooled trusts, trusts for disabled individuals are not required to have any type of Medicaid "payback provision" which becomes effective upon the death of the beneficiary.

 

 

This page last updated in Release Number: 18-01

Release Date: 04/13/2018

Effective Date: 04/13/2018