SJC rules on Nadeau and Daley cases

Today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision in the cases of Nadeau v. Director of the Office of Medicaid Gavel (2) and Daley v. Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. In the unanimous decision, the SJC held that the ability of an applicant for benefits to reside in property that has been transferred into an irrevocable trust does not render the corpus of the trust a countable resource in a MassHealth long-term care benefit application:

“We conclude that neither the grant in an irrevocable trust of a right of use and occupancy in a primary residence to an applicant nor the retention by an applicant of a life estate in his or her primary residence makes the equity in the home owned by the trust a countable asset for the purpose of determining Medicaid eligibility for long-term care benefits.”

This decision also clarifies that Federal law is controlling in a state’s eligibility determination, an issue which had been challenged by MassHealth over the past several years. Attorney Lisa Neeley represented the Plaintiff, Mr. Lionel Nadeau, before the SJC.  For the full decision, click here.

About Lisa Neeley

Lisa is an attorney in the Firm's Trusts and Estates Group. She focuses her practice on elder law, estate, and special needs planning matters.   Lisa assists clients in the preparation and filing of complex MassHealth applications, from the planning and filing process through representation for any necessary appeals. In conjunction with her MassHealth expertise, Lisa has represented clients in appeal hearings regarding benefit eligibility issues before the Board of Hearings, Superior Court, and Massachusetts Appeals Court. In addition, Lisa has expertise in assisting elderly and disabled clients with the process of applying for community MassHealth benefits to enable them to remain in their homes while receiving care.    Lisa routinely assists clients of all ages with the preparation of estate and long-term care planning documents, including powers of attorney, health care proxies, wills, and trusts. She regularly appears in Probate Court to represent individuals and families in guardianship, conservatorship, and estate administration matters. Lisa frequently speaks to local senior centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and community groups on estate and long-term care planning topics. She is an active member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). In 2016, Lisa was a recipient of the John Ford litigation advocacy award by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) in recognition of her dedication and commitment to people as they age and for people with special needs.
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