Miller Trusts 101
If you’re feeling a bit intimidated about Miller Trusts right now, that’s understandable. There is a lot of misinformation about what they are and how they work. This page and the links it contains will go a long way to eliminating your misapprehension. Once you understand the basics and have a foundation of how they work, this important legal device becomes a lot less intimidating.
Medicaid in Texas strictly limits the amount of monthly income a person can receive. If the income of an applicant exceeds the limit allowed, you can only become eligible through the use of a Miller Trust (also called a QIT – Qualified Income Trust). When properly drafted, the trust documents allow the applicant to divert income into a specific type of bank account thereby becoming “income eligible.” Handled correctly you gain three important benefits:
- the applicant’s income no longer exceeds the limit,
- the person needing care meets the income guidelines and
- the door to maximum financial support opens up.
It sounds like a simple process:
- draft the trust document,
- establish a bank account to go along with the trust
- make the deposits
But, as with most things related to Medicaid and Elder Law it’s not “simple.”
For starters, a Miller Trust account must be set up precisely. There are a variety of factors that must be considered and matched to each family’s unique circumstances. On top of the built-in legal complexity, you’ll likely pick-up a surprising amount of misinformation as I mentioned earlier. Misinformation is rampant. I’ve seen bad guidance from sources you think are reliable like nursing home staff, social workers, bankers, financial planners, relatives and friends. Even non-elder law attorneys are guilty. The confusion often translates into lost benefits because of poorly drafted documents, inappropriate funding and poor timing.
Follow the links below. They take you to plain-English explanations of how Miller Trusts work. You’ll find out important information like:
- whether or not a Qualified Income Trust is right for you,
- how one can help you save money,
- the most common mistakes to avoid, and
- what to expect when you actually set up a Miller Trust bank account
This page also provides valuable insights into how Medicaid evaluates monthly income. I include specific examples and real numbers. Whether you’re seeking care for your spouse or your parent, read this article to get the basics you need to know and get the most benefit from a Miller Trust.
- When is the best time to submit the paperwork to Medicaid
- When do I start diverting income into the trust account?
A slight mistake here can delay Medicaid coverage by a month or more. When each month of nursing home care costs around $6,000, unnecessarily losing that much money is not a mistake you want to make.
Like any other area of Medicaid planning, Miller Trusts are used most effectively when a knowledgeable elder law attorney is your guide. So, if you still have some questions, please Contact Us via phone (713-970-1300) or email.
Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading and look forward to hearing from you soon.