Page 25 - Senior Times South Central Michigan February 2021 - 28-02
P. 25

Ask the
Senior Times - February 2021
Page 25
Michael Walling, Special to Senior Times IRREVOCABLE TRUST
Wills • Trusts • Powers of Attorney
Lady Bird Deeds • Nursing Home Planning
Don't Lose Everything You Have To the Nursing Home
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Michael B. Walling, J.D., LL.M.
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QUESTION: I am taking care of my Mother. I think she will have to go into a long-term care facility soon. I read that we can create
 an irrevocable trust, transfer her money into it, and then she will qualify for Medicaid. Is that right?
ANSWER: No. If you create an irrevocable trust and transfer her money into it, she will have prob- lems if she applies for Medicaid within five years. Why? Because
the transfer of her money into the irrevocable trust is subject to the five year look-back. That means that if she applies for Medicaid during the five-year look-back, the transfer will be considered a divestment and she will be penalized. The penalty
for some home care; or she could go into a nice assisted living facility if she has the money to pay for it. By putting her money in an irrevocable trust, she is giving up the option of paying for other types of care. She is basically planning on going into a nursing home. Who wants to go to a nursing home? No one I know of.
is that she won’t be able to receive Medicaid benefits for a period of time. For example, if she trans- ferred $50,000 into the irrevocable trust, then Medicaid won’t pay for $50,000 of care. That makes sense right? She gave away $50,000 (to the trust) so Medicaid is saying, “Hey! You could have used that money to pay for $50,000 of your care. But you gave it away instead. So we are not going to pay for $50,000 worth of your care.”
Michael B. Walling is an Elder Law attorney with an advanced Master of Laws degree. He man- ages the Elder Law Center and the law firm of Michael B. Walling, PLC. Mr. Walling is also a part- time professor at Western Michigan University. Please email any ques- tions to: This column is intended for general infor- mation purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice to any particular person.
The other drawback to transfer- ring her money into an irrevocable trust is that she cannot take it out if she needs it. For example, what if she can stay at home if she can pay
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