In Massachusetts, a Medicare trust is commonly referred to as a Medicaid trust or an irrevocable income-only trust (IIOT). This type of trust is designed to help individuals protect their assets while still qualifying for Medicaid benefits, which can help cover long-term care costs. By transferring assets, such as real estate, into an irrevocable trust, you may potentially reduce your countable assets for Medicaid eligibility purposes.
Here are a few key points to consider:
- Irrevocable Trust: An irrevocable trust is one that, once established, generally cannot be altered or revoked without the consent of the beneficiaries and the court. The trust becomes the legal owner of the transferred assets, and you relinquish control over them.
- Look-Back Period: Medicaid has a “look-back” period, which is a period of time during which transfers of assets are scrutinized to determine eligibility. In Massachusetts, the look-back period is typically five years. Transferring assets into a Medicaid trust may help you meet the eligibility requirements, provided that the transfer occurred more than five years before applying for Medicaid benefits.
- Timing: It is important to plan in advance, as the transfer of assets shortly before needing long-term care can still be subject to penalties and may affect Medicaid eligibility. Consulting with an attorney well in advance is crucial.
- Legal Assistance: Given the complexity of Medicaid laws and regulations, it is highly recommended to work with an attorney experienced in Medicaid planning and estate law. They can guide you through the process, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and tailor the trust to your specific needs.
Remember, Medicaid laws and regulations can vary, and they are subject to change over time. It is important to stay informed about the most up-to-date regulations and consult with a qualified attorney to address your individual circumstances effectively.