Can I Prepare a Miller Trust by Myself Without an Attorney?

 In Long-Term Care Planning

Question:

Do I need an attorney to prepare a Miller trust fund, or can I get the form and do it myself?

Response:

A Miller or “qualified income” trust is a curious artifact of our nation’s system (or non-system) of funding long-term care. Most residents of nursing homes are covered by Medicaid, which has strict asset limits. In most states, there’s no income limit, but the nursing home resident must pay a bulk of his income towards the nursing home fee. Other states, known as income cap states, bar Medicaid eligibility for nursing home residents whose income exceeds $2,250 a month (in 2018). For a long time, this was a huge bar to coverage and a big problem for seniors and nursing homes in those states. Then, some smart attorneys in Colorado came up with the idea of sheltering income above the cap in a special trust and established the right to do so in the Miller case. This right was later adopted into Medicaid law.

My state is not an income-cap state, so I don’t have experience with Miller trusts. But, as you can see, this is pretty complicated and how they are drafted may depend a bit on state-to-state administration of the law. I’d advise engaging a local elder law attorney to draft your Miller trust.

For more information about the income cap, click here.

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