Atty. Eric D. Correira Interviewed by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly recently interviewed Atty. Eric D. Correira regarding a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision involving a nominee trust in the context of Medicaid qualification. A nominee trust is a not a “true trust”, and instead an entity unique under Massachusetts law for holding real estate. The case, Guilfoil v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, was yet another success for a Medicaid applicant incorrectly denied benefits by MassHealth. However, as noted by Atty. Correira, nominee trusts often are not an effective planning tool.
From the article: “[According to Eric D. Correira] the use of nominee trusts has begun to fall out of favor after a couple of decades of heavier use and ‘invites the type of problem’ seen in Guilfoil. ‘Nominee trusts do more harm than good in a lot of situations’ he said . . . According to Correira, the pushback MassHealth has mounted toward even irrevocable trusts has caused some lawyers and clients not to engage in Medicaid planning at all. From MassHealth’s perspective, that is ‘already a win,’ as the person may never seek benefits at all, he said. Correira said his office has sometimes advised clients to go to Rhode Island, where their trust documents are less likely to be challenged by the state’s Medicaid administrator. ‘That’s a success for MassHealth, too, because now the person is applying for benefits in another state,’ he said. Of course, MassHealth and its sister agencies could ask Congress to change the law to have trust property count toward Medicaid eligibility, but Correira said he does not expect that to happen.”
For the full article, click here.