Miller Trust Houston

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:

  1. the applicant’s income no longer exceeds the limit,
  2. the person needing care meets the income guidelines and
  3. 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

What is a Miller Trust?

If this is your first time reading about Miller Trusts, this introductory article is the best place to start. You’ll learn when a Miller Trust is necessary, and you’ll get a basic overview of what Medicaid in Texas requires when you set one up.

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.
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How Can You Use a Miller Trust?

This Q&A is a great follow-up to the first article. It answers the most common questions about the benefits of using a Miller Trust. It also introduces you to some of the specific government departments and vocabulary you’ll need to know as you continue Medicaid planning. Finally, it will provide you with a basic understanding of how the State of Texas views this important set of documents.
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Do Miller Trusts Protect Assets? (and other common myths)

Short answer: No! There is a right way and a wrong way to fund the trust. If you put any “wrong money” into the trust bank account the State can deny benefits. Denied benefits mean you lose money. Knowing what money you can deposit to your Miller Trust account is essential. By preventing common mistakes like this when setting up your trust, you can literally save thousands of dollars.
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When is the Best Time to Set up Your Miller Trust?

By now you should have a better handle on Miller Trusts. You know what they are. You know when they’re necessary. You know what they can do for you and you’re almost ready to set one up. This article answers two questions:

  1. When is the best time to submit the paperwork to Medicaid
  2. 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.
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How to Properly Set up a Miller Trust Bank Account in Texas

This article gives you an overview of how to set up a Miller Trust account with your bank. It also introduces you to a few of the common errors you might experience from bank personnel. And you’ll find out how to respond when your banker is doing something wrong. As pointed out in the previous link – Miller Trusts are a time-sensitive process. It’s important to make sure every part of the setup goes smoothly.

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.

If you’d like to learn more about Medicaid income and asset protection in general, download our free PDF guide: Don’t Go Bankrupt Paying Texas Nursing Home Costs.

Either way, I hope you enjoyed reading and look forward to hearing from you soon.

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