Any Benefit of Medicaid Trust? Cost to Fill Our Medicaid Application?

by Lisa
(NY, NY)


I am helping my parents who are elderly obtain a living trust or as the lawyer puts it a "Grantor Medicaid Trust." Are these one in the same?

Also once I put their assets (which include a home and minimal monetary assets into the trust is it necessary for a lawyer to process a nursing home application on my behalf. The cost for them to process or put together this application is VERY SUBSTANTIAL over $15,000. Just concerned as to why after placing assets into a trust that a lawyer would need to do this. Wouldn't the nursing home process the paperwork if my parents need to go into a nursing facility? I appreciate your response.

Thank you so much.


A "living trust" (i.e., revocable trust) is rarely of benefit in Medicaid planning, although it can be very useful in estate planning. The problem is that under the Medicaid rules all assets titled in the name of the trust are countable when you apply for Medicaid, so it doesn't do you any good. As a matter of fact, in most states if you title your house in the name of a Living Trust it loses its exemption and is suddenly countable!

As for whether you need assistance when you actually apply for Medicaid, that depends on how complicated your situation is. Many people fill out the forms themselves, but others look to an attorney or capable financial advisor to assist them. Note, however, that the nursing home will not help you out with this, as a general rule. In any event, $15,000 to assist you in filling out the forms sounds outrageously high; I would definitely shop around! One source of good elder law attorneys is NAELA (National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys). Once on their site, you can search by zip code, etc.

You can also get a great book on medicaid planning at Medicaid Secrets.

Good luck!

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Mar 22, 2011
Is a living trust bad for medicaid qualification?
by: Mo Johnson


The Q&A above is timely for me. my grandmom wants me to be the executor of her estate. she thinks we should put everything in a living trust. she has no estate tax issues, but of course, for me, it would be easier as the executor to have things in a living trust that I'm the trustee of. Also, if she has some sickness/disability before she passes away, then it would be easier for me to access her assets as needed.

BUT, your point about her house potentially losing its medicaid exemption if it's in a trust gives me pause. her house is her primary asset... So, would you think it a bad idea for her to put her house in a trust? She lives in virginia. I haven't been able to find the rules in VA -- though, I'll check your book tonight!

danke shun!

Mar 22, 2011
Living trust good for limiting probate cost and hassle
by: Gabriel Heiser

I agree a living trust is a help for that. My parents had them set up and died in FL; I was the trustee and had zero attorney's costs! Much easier to deal with everything as Trustee. Don't worry about the house: if she enters the nursing home and Medicaid is an option, the trustee can simply deed the house back into her name so it would be exempt. No gifts in or out, with a living trust. Be sure she signs a good Durable Power of Attorney that includes Medicaid gifting/planning provisions.

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