Vermont Long-Term Care Medicaid eligibility is determined by many different factors, but one primary consideration in assessing eligibility for Medicaid benefits is whether or not you have a high income. There is also another important financial metric beyond income. Those receiving long-term care Medicaid are limited in the amount of countable resources that they are allowed to own and still receive benefits.
Countable resources include many types of wealth, such as money held in bank or investment accounts as well as certain types of real estate. As a result of the resource limits, an inheritance that someone receives could result in that heir suddenly having resources above the threshold limit for qualifying for Medicaid. The implications of this are that an inheritance could cause a loss of Medicaid benefits. An inheritance could also cause a loss of other means-tested government benefits that also have resource limits, such as Supplemental Security Income.
Due to the impact an inheritance can have, anyone who is planning to leave money to a person who is disabled or to a person who is elderly should work with an estate planning lawyer at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC to get help. There are ways to structure an inheritance in order to make certain that a financial gift isn’t going to result in a loss of important assets, and an experienced attorney should be consulted to find solutions that can allow a gift to be given without causing harm.
How an Inheritance Will Impact Vermont Medicaid Eligibility
Vermont’s overview of its state Medicaid program, Green Mountain Care, explains the potential impact of an inheritance on eligibility for Medicaid coverage. According to the overview, those who are receiving benefits through Medicaid are allowed to have no more than $2,000 in resources per person and are allowed to have no more than $119,000 per couple.
It is very common for an inheritance to be valued at more than $2,000 or $119,000. This is especially true in situations where a parent or another friend or relative wants to leave a substantial nest egg to someone who is disabled and who cannot work on his own. The parent or relative may work hard to ensure there is money available to leave for a loved one with a disability so that disabled person can have the highest quality of life. It is important to make certain that this generous gift does not backfire by causing a loss of benefits.
What Are The Options for an Inheritance Without Losing Vermont Medicaid Eligibility?
The good news is that there are options for leaving an inheritance to someone without causing a loss of access to benefits. You can create a special needs trust that is specifically designed to provide additional financial support while protecting continued access to benefits.
When you work with an experienced attorney to create a special needs trust to protect Vermont Medicaid eligibility, you will structure a gift you give to a disabled person so that the wealth you are providing is owned by the trust and not owned directly by your loved one with a disability. You can create a special needs trust to create an inter vivos gift or as part of an inheritance that you bequeath to someone in your will, but you need to make sure you work with a Vermont Medicaid planning lawyer to structure the trust appropriately.
You will need to create a trust document, select a trustee to manage it for the person with the disability, and make certain that the trust administrator uses the money for your intended purposes in enriching the quality of life of your loved one with the disability. The money in the trust cannot be given as cash, used to do things like pay rent, or be given as gifts that are considered equivalent to cash. As a result, you should be careful about the purposes that you intend for the trust to serve.
Getting Help from A Vermont Medicaid Planning Lawyer
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide invaluable assistance with making a Medicaid plan that protects an inheritance and protects continued Vermont Medicaid eligibility. You should download our free estate planning worksheet to find out how Medicaid planning can factor in to estate planning. You can also give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online to get personalized help with making your Medicaid plan. Give us a call today to find out more.
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