Qualified Income Trusts (Miller Trusts)

Nashville Attorneys Serving Your Estate Planning Needs

Complex health conditions and other issues tend to arise as we get older, and we rely on many different people and programs to handle them. Government assistance through Medicaid is often one of the options, especially when we need the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, when an individual’s income is more than the state’s set lawful amount to qualify for Medicaid, federal law allows a specialized Qualified Income Trust, also known as a Miller Trust, to be established to account for the discrepancies. The Nashville estate planning lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC can help aging Tennessee residents set up these types of trusts to establish Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care. Our firm offers sensitive legal guidance in all estate matters, and we are committed to protecting the future of our clients and their loved ones.

Establishing Qualified Income Trusts

A Qualified Income Trust is established when a Medicaid applicant’s income exceeds the amount set for Medicaid eligibility. In Tennessee, as of 2016, the income cap was set at $2,199 monthly. Miller Trusts are made up only of an individual’s monthly income, and the assets in them are not taken into account with regard to the income cap limit, allowing applicants to qualify for Medicaid nursing home care benefits. These trusts are irrevocable, which means that once they are established, an individual may not make any changes to their terms and relinquishes all control over the assets therein. The individual setting up the trust, known as a grantor, assigns a trustee, who is then responsible for ensuring that funds are deposited and paid for nursing home and other approved costs associated with care.

If a Medicaid applicant is not competent and therefore unable to establish a Miller Trust themselves, other individuals may do so on their behalf. An applicant’s spouse, as well as any appointed attorney-in-fact, may create a Qualified Income Trust. If neither of these is present, courts may intervene to create the authority necessary to set up such a trust. Once the trust is executed, a copy and proof of deposit of income into a separate bank account must be sent to the State of Tennessee Bureau of TennCare in order to gain Medicaid approval. Each trust must also have a separate Federal Employer or Tax Identification Number for banking and tax purposes.

When a grantor passes away, the trustee must notify the Bureau and is prohibited from depositing any further income into the trust’s account. The state is also entitled to reimbursement for the total amount of assistance paid. Because of the nuances and specifications that are involved in establishing Qualified Income Trusts, it is important to consult a knowledgeable trusts and estates attorney who can help determine whether it is a good option for you or your loved one.

Consult an Estate Planning Lawyer in the Nashville Area

The Nashville estate planning attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC assist people with making sure that their family and they can afford the costs associated with getting older. Our firm represents residents of Davidson and Williamson Counties, including people in Franklin, East Nashville, Charlotte, and Green Hills. If you need guidance regarding establishing a Miller Trust or another estate matter, contact us online or call us at 615-800-7096. Our health care attorneys offer a free consultation.