A Medicaid trust is a useful tool for Medicaid planning. A Medicaid trust is an irrevocable trust that must follow certain guidelines to be valid. In this article, we will go over the basics of Medicaid trusts.
Qualifying for Medicaid
Each state has its own Medicaid systems in place, such as Medi-cal (https://www.iehp.org/en/members/medical) in California. Arizona’s Medicaid program is known as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (ACHHS). However, the Medicaid program in Arizona that offers long term care goes by a different name, the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS).
Here is an overview of the basic requirements you must meet to qualify for ALTCS:
- You require a level of care that needs to be provided by a skilled nursing facility. You may either be currently receiving such care or be found by AHCCS to require it.
- Your monthly income does not exceed 300% of the SSI Federal Benefit Rate.
- Your assets fall under the limits set out by ALTCS. This includes the value of your residence and all other types of real property and accounts.
The purpose of a Medicaid trust is to help you to qualify under Medicaid coverage for long term care. Medicaid has strict qualification requirements, many of which have to do with your asset values. By transferring assets into an irrevocable trust, you give up control and title over them. Medicaid does not count assets held in an irrevocable trust against you for qualification purposes. However, for this to work your assets must be properly titled into the name of the irrevocable trust and you must make such a transfer at least five years before you utilize Medicaid long term care services.
Benefits of Medicaid Trusts
The main benefit of setting up a Medicaid Trust is to help you to qualify for ALTCS and receive long term care. By qualifying for this program, it will provide you with free care. This will allow you to provide for your beneficiaries and not completely spend down your estate.
Disadvantages of Medicaid Trusts
The main disadvantage of an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust is loss of control. Once assets are put into the trust, you lose any type of control over them. This means you cannot sell or make changes to any properties that are in the name of the trust. Your Trustee is the one who has the control to make decisions and has control over it for you.
Is a Medicaid Trust Right for You?
You will have to weigh the benefits and the disadvantages to determine If one is right for you. You will also need to determine the right time to complete the documents due to the five-year look-back period.
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