Question: With a special needs trust that requires Medicaid to be paid back following the beneficiary’s death, what is the statute of limitations for that repayment? If Medicaid has not asked to be paid back, when can the proceeds be distributed?
Answer: There is no statute of limitations. Under the terms of the trust, after the beneficiary’s death the trustee is required to reimburse Medicaid for expenditures made on the beneficiary’s behalf. This is an affirmative obligation that does not depend on state initiative. That said, if the trustee has contacted the Medicaid agency and it has not responded, it puts the trustee in a pickle. The trustee must then decide whether to take the risk of distributing trust funds to remainder beneficiaries, perhaps requiring them to sign indemnification agreements that they will return the funds if the state comes calling.
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