Can I Prepare a Miller Trust by Myself Without an Attorney?
Do I need an attorney to prepare a Miller trust fund, or can I get the form and do it myself?
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 $2,523 a month (in 2022). 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. Some elder law practitioners also call Miller trusts “qualified income” trusts or “QITs.”
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.