A trust, as used in Elder Law planning, is a legal entity that allows you to preserve income or assets that you would otherwise be forced to spend on your care, to facilitate your estate plan. Trusts are among the main workhorses of Elder Law planning, and some of its most powerful tools. They can be used to protect your home or any other property you hold.
The types of trusts that are typically used in Elder Law include:
- Medicaid Trust (Irrevocable Grantor Trust)
- Revocable or “Living” Trust (estate planning only)
- Pooled Income Trust
- Supplemental Needs Trust
- Placing a Co-op in a Trust
Every case is individual and unique, and you’ll need proper advice on what trust configuration will deliver the maximum advantage. Different trust strategies apply to various economic and family situations, and according to whether you need home or nursing facility care. The bottom line is that in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, money and assets have to be moved out of your name. Trusts are the most effective way to do it, and they’re fully authorized for this purpose under Federal and New York State laws.
If you already have a trust created for estate planning purposes, your trust should be evaluated by an Elder Law attorney. Typically, this type of trust will be a revocable trust, or a so-called “living trust.” These trusts work well if the only goal is estate planning. However, they are not asset protection trusts, and the assets held in such trusts will be counted as your own resources for Medicaid eligibility purposes.