What Is A Florida Qualified Income Trust?
Irene is worried about the cost of long-term care facilities but also is not sure if she qualifies for a Medicaid waiver. She is afraid to move money around for fear of drawing attention or making herself inadvertently ineligible for state assistance. She would prefer to not sell her home just to cover assisted living costs, but is she out of options?
What is a QIT or Miller Trust?
A Qualified Income Trust, or Miller Trust, is specifically designed for elderly loved ones whose income just exceeds the Medicaid waiver threshold, but still cannot afford the cost of long-term care or assisted living expenses on their own. A QIT is beneficial because it automatically deposits the elderly loved one’s excess income into a restricted bank account. In turn, the funds in the bank account can be used primarily to pay for medical expenses, such as the cost of assisted living or a home health nurse. To open a qualified income trust, a senior must work directly with a Medicaid planning elder law attorney to discuss their options. Once the trust is created, the attorney will open a qualified income trust account at a bank of the elder’s choosing. The trust bank account will only receive and hold funds to be paid for medical expenses, such as social security checks. The settlor (person creating the trust) must select a trustee to administer the account. It is the trustee who will make withdrawals from the account specifically to pay for long-term care costs.
Additional Information on MIller Trusts
If the senior is living in a nursing home facility, the income derived from a Miller Trust will pay all costs associated. However, if they have assistance from a home health nurse or live in an assisted living facility, the income generated in the Miller trust will only cover direct medical expenses. In addition, income has to be deposited into the QIT bank account when it is received. For example, if a senior received a check for the sale of an antique in December, they would need to deposit that check into the QIT in December. If they waited until February to deposit the money, a Medicaid waiver would not cover expenses for the month of February. QIT trusts are also irrevocable, meaning once they are drafted, the settlor cannot withdraw funds on their own in the event of an emergency, and cannot change their mind about the account. Florida also holds a lien on excess funds remaining in the QIT account after the settlor’s death, meaning if funds remain, some would be used to payback the cost of providing Medicaid to the decedent while they were living.
Contact Our Tampa Medicaid Planning Attorneys at Bubley & Bubley
If you or a loved one are just starting to contemplate long-term care needs, you may have questions about what benefits you qualify for. Medicaid planning is not straightforward, and long-term care costs continue to rise. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind, and contact our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Bubley & Bubley. We have experience in Medicaid waivers and long-term care planning, and can help you determine a solution that is right for you. Call today to schedule a consultation.