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What is a Miller Trust, and how might it help my family?

Just as American life is marked by rapid change and flux, constancy, too, is an overriding theme in many areas of our society.

That is, some things that loom large in everyday life remain essentially the same over time, notwithstanding broad-based efforts to modify them.

Take health care costs, for example. High outlays for care have been a sobering concern of individuals and families in Texas and across the country for years, with a great national debate ongoing that is focused upon possible solutions for combating ever-escalating expenditures.

Yet while that debate goes on, medical costs for many Americans continue to spike, to the point where affordability and the availability of care for millions have become fundamental national concerns.

Care costs are of course especially acute concerns for persons with finite resources and fixed incomes. Paying for medical care can deplete savings in a hurry. In fact, myriad media sources regularly remind readers that spiraling and out-of-control medical debt is a primary catalyst underlying home foreclosures and bankruptcy filings.

Controlling costs and protecting family income can be of flatly imperative importance for families with one or more aging members who will likely need to partake of Medicare benefits and establish Medicaid eligibility.

An immediate concern in such a case, as noted in an online overview of elder law considerations, is that a family’s resources might be deemed too high by government administrators; in other words, a family member might be deemed ineligible for Medicaid nursing home benefits. Alternatively, a concern might arise that, in the event of ineligibility, there is simply not enough income to pay for private care.

These are profound concerns.

They are also concerns that are routinely dealt with and meaningfully addressed by experienced estate planning attorneys.

Where elder law concerns arise regarding care programs and eligibility, a proven lawyer can discuss various strategies that both protect income and help ensure eligibility for care programs.

One vehicle that commands strong utility for many families entertaining Medicaid-related questions is the so-called “qualified income trust.”

Also known as a Miller Trust, this planning tool can be invaluable for families needing to protect income and still qualify a family member for program eligibility.

We will take a close look at this trust in our next blog post.

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