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Can Property in an Irrevocable Trust Be Sold or Gifted Without Restarting the Medicaid Look-Back Period?

  • September 9th, 2016
My parents have an irrevocable trust that contains land, money, and real property. It was set up as part of Medicaid planning. If the trustees sell a part of the land, would it reset the five-year look-back period? Also, does this land have to sell at "market" value or can it sell to family at a discounted price? Finally, could this land simply be gifted without resetting the five-year look-back period?

To start off, you need to check with a local elder law attorney to be certain of the answers because different states interpret the rules differently and it is important to see the actual wording of the trust. That said, here are the probable answers: (1) The trust can sell the land, but the proceeds of the sale must remain in the trust. (2) If the trustees sell the land for less than its market value they may be violating their fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiaries. But if the beneficiaries approve of the sale, then the trustees could be protected from potential liability. (3) The land could be gifted if the trust permits distributions to the recipients in the proportions anticipated. This should not start a new five-year clock (but this might be the most important issue to confirm with a local elder law attorney). To find an attorney near you, go here:

For more about Medicaid and trusts, click here.

Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA

Samantha Fredieu

Hale Ball Carlson Baumgartner Murphy PLC
Fairfax, VA

William Fralin

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm PC
Bethesda, MD

Jeffrey Hammond

Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
Bethesda, MD

Last Modified: 09/09/2016

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