Are Irrevocable Trust Funds Countable for Purposes of Eligibility for Medicaid Community Benefits?
Are irrevocable trusts considered countable income or assets when seniors are applying for community Medicaid?
It depends on the trust. The first question is who created and funded it, the person applying for benefits, his or her spouse, or someone else. The rules are much more liberal if the trust was created by a third party rather than the applicant or his or her spouse. Assuming the applicant or spouse created and funded the trust, the funds are considered countable if the trustee has discretion to distribute them to the applicant. Many trusts created for Medicaid-planning purposes dictate that the income be distributed to the grantor but that the principal assets may not be. In this case, the income would be considered available and countable, but the investments held by the trust would be protected.
An elder law attorney could review the trust and advise you specifically as well as let you know if there are any local applications of the law that would apply to the trust in question. Sometimes state Medicaid offices argue that funds in trust are available based on particular provisions in the trusts.