Brief Fact Summary. Beneficiaries of trusts are attempting to claim Medicaid eligibility and argue that the assets held in trust should not be considered when computing their eligibility. The state argues that the language of the statute and the legislative intent compel a different result.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Under the Medicaid statute if there is even a small amount of discretion regarding the availability of funds then whatever the beneficiary could most receive in the full exercise of that discretion is the amount to be counted as available for Medicaid eligibility
Courts in this State and elsewhere had ruled in various contexts that, if an individual settled assets in an irrevocable trust and the disposition of those assets was at the discretion of a trustee, no beneficiary of the trust would have a right to call for them, and so the assets could not be considered available to the beneficiary.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether or not, and what amount, should be considered when determine Medicaid eligibility for individuals who are the beneficiaries of trusts for which the trustee is denied discretion to make available sums that would disqualify the individuals from Medicaid eligibility?
Held. Yes. Affirmed. Whatever the beneficiary could receive in the full exercise of the trustee’s discretion is to be considered for Medicaid eligibility.
Discussion. The Court is lead to its conclusion based on the language of the statute and the legislative history.