From and after June 1, 2014: Why do I now need a “Miller Trust?”

June 1, 2014: Why do I now need a “Miller Trust?”

Copyright © 2014-2016, Douglas D. Germann, Sr., Professional Corporation.
574/291-0022, fax 574/291-0024, PO Box 2796, South Bend, IN 46680-2796

 

Short answer: you need a Miller Trust if you want your loved one to continue getting Medicaid after June 1.

This applies to you or your loved one if:

  • in nursing home
  • on Medicaid
  • have income over $2,199/month (2015 and 2016 level)

If your loved one is in a nursing home, and has income over $2,199/month, they will not be eligible for Medicaid. A penny over, and they are off Medicaid. No more chance to spend down to where Medicaid takes over. It is simply a cliff: too much money and you’re off the program.

The fix is a crazy little thing called a “Miller Trust.”

It is a legal fiction. You put at least the excess over $2,199 in a special bank account each month, and immediately pay it out for approved things, and life goes on.

Crazy, yes. Necessary, yes.

The state of Indiana has even posted a sample of a Miller Trust to make it easy to get started. They want you to stay eligible if this is all it will take.

The state’s form is probably adequate for some single people who have no assets to protect. It is not particularly a good format for couples where only one is in the nursing home. That’s because the spouse at home can get money out of here, and the state form is rigid and may limit what can be paid more than they need to.

It could cost you to use the free form.

The free form will not even work well with all singles.

Then there is the question of how to use the trust once you have one: how much money should go into the trust each month, what are approved expenditures from it, who can be Trustee, how will the budget change each year?

Here is where getting legal help is worthwhile. Call us at 574/291-0022, and we will help you if we can.

Get your Miller Trust in place by the month you wish to be eligible if you have income above $2,199/month.

For a convenient checklist, click here: Family Checklist for Indiana Miller Trusts

Call if you have questions.

:- Doug.

2 Responses to From and after June 1, 2014: Why do I now need a “Miller Trust?”

  1. Ruth Quinlan says:

    Does prepaid funeral accounts count in the Miller Trust?

    • dgermann says:

      Ruth–

      Thanks for your question, Ruth!

      A Qualified Income Trust holds only income, not principal or assets. So the only things you can put into a QIT (“Miller Trust”) are things like pensions and Social Security.

      You would normally not put a prepaid funeral account into a QIT (not sure the funeral home would allow you to do so anyway).

      The QIT is usually invested in a checking account at a bank, so putting the money into a prepaid funeral is not a good idea. Usually, Medicaid will give you a “liability” figure–what you need to pay to the nursing home or other provider–so there is no extra money to pay for a funeral.

      Also, in Indiana, most prepaid funerals are exempt money, so putting QIT funds which are exempt into a prepaid funeral would be unnecessary.

      Can you tell me a little more of what you are trying to accomplish, and maybe I can give you a more specific answer, Ruth?

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