A Pooled Trust is an excellent financial tool for individuals for whom guardianship has been established. Families want to establish financial security for their loved ones who are disabled and a Pooled Trust is an excellent vehicle to assure that the disabled person's assets are protected and personal funds are not depleted by nursing home and general support expenses. In Kentucky, persons with disabilities who have more than $2000 may not be eligible for participation in the Medicaid program. In meeting the health needs of the disabled, qualifying for Medicaid is crucial. Without the ability to qualify for Medicaid, many people deplete their funds and the savings of their loved ones.
As a specially designed trust, permitted under the rules of Social Security and Medicaid, a Pooled Trust provides protection of assets (including cash) from being considered an available resource to cover nursing home payments or general support for someone under guardianship (the Respondent). This is a tremendous resource for families who assume responsibility for the welfare of a loved one and work diligently to secure their future.
With the creation of a First Party Pooled Trust, set up with the Respondent's money, this allows the disabled individual to pay for supplemental needs through the Pooled Trust and access public benefits, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income, for their health and nursing home expenses. In exchange, the trust must provide any remaining funds at the time of the termination of the trust, to reimburse Medicaid up to the amount that Medicaid has paid on behalf of the Respondent. Some disabled individuals have trusts that are set up without any of the Respondent's funds and they are called Third Party Trusts. They can be set up by parents for a disabled offspring, or other relatives or friends can set up such a trust. Since these trusts do not have any of the Respondent's money in them, when the trust is terminated or the Respondent dies, there is no requirement to reimburse Medicaid.
The advantages of a Pooled Trust are many. Pooled Trusts are established and administered by non-profit organizations. Each beneficiary within the trust has a separate account, but the accounts are pooled for the purpose of investment and management of funds. This is beneficial to the Respondent and family as this professional management and oversight provides a layer of expertise that is difficult and expensive to secure outside of a pool. The expenditure of funds for an individual beneficiary is done in proportion to their share of the total pool. The managers of the pooled trust generally are knowledgeable about agency rules regarding income and expenditure, SSI and Medicaid. Often these managers have had their own experience with family members with disabilities and are personally attuned to the complex issues surrounding disability.
Maximizing the rights of a disabled person to tap into the resources available to the disability community is important and participating in a Pooled Trust is an essential component to provide this security over time. A Trustee is selected and this individual will have decision-making authority over the trust property and will be in charge of spending money on behalf of the Respondent. The Kentucky Guardianship Association (KGA) is a non-profit membership organization committed to improving adult guardianship in Kentucky. Visit our website at www.kyguardianship.org and watch our video with its easy-to-understand overview of Kentucky guardian law Protecting the quality of life of your loved one involves many factors and KGA is a great resource for information on Pooled Trusts. It is easier to navigate creating a Pooled Trust when you partner with the experts at Kentucky Guardianship Association.