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Medi-Cal and inheritance

San Francisco, CA |

I am the trustee of my uncle's trust. One of the beneficiaries is my aunt, my uncle's sister. My aunt is currently on Medi-Cal. I read that if I make a distribution to my Aunt, she will most likely lose her Medi-Cal eligibility. The amount of her inheritance is roughly $50,000.

A friend told me that she can write a trust or gift the money to somebody in order to maintain her eligibility for Medi-Cal. Is this true?

Attorney Answers 2


Be VERY, VERY careful here. Medi-Cal has very specific requirements. I would not rely on a friend's advice unless that friend is a licensed attorney or works for Medi-Cal division. If you mean to say can she "disclaim" her share, that is one thing but if you mean have it paid to someone else to give her, that is fraud and may open up the possibility of criminal and civil sanctions. Contact your local bar association for referral to an attorney who specializes in this. Often, but not always, the attorney will do an initial consultation free of charge. You will then be in a better position to determine what to do next. Best of luck to you!

If you liked this answer, click on the thumbs up! Thanks. Eliz. C. A. Johnson Post Office Box 8 Danville, California 94526-0008 Legal disclaimer: I do not practice law in any state but California. As such, any responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to a general understanding of law in California and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as legal advice can only be provided in circumstances in which the attorney is able to ask questions of the person seeking legal advice and to thus gather appropriate information.

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You write that you are the trustee of your Uncle's trust but do not tell us if he is alive. If he is alive and the trust is a revocable trust, he can change it so that your Aunt's future benefit is in a special needs trust which protects her against losing her medi-cal benefit. If your uncle is dead and the trust has become irrevocable and your aunt's share has become "vested" (hers as a matter of right), the State can come after this money or take her off Medi-cal until the funds are used up for her care. Also keep in mind that there is approximately a 5-year lookback. This means the State can review her financial records going back approximately 5 years to determine if she has any assets to determine her eligibility for Medi-Cal. If you have concerns, an appropriate type of lawyer to consult is an elder care attorney. They are pro's on government benefits.

Nothing contained in the information on this web site is to be considered as the rendering of legal advice for specific cases and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their own legal counsel. This web site is intended for educational purposes only. Michael R. Weinstein, is licensed to practice only before the courts of the State of California, and is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Central District and the United States Cou rt of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit. No information contained herein is to be considered applicable to legal matters in domestic or foreign jurisdictions outside of the State of California.

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