A Man who Represents Himself has a Fool for a Client

Who is advising you?  Last year I received a call from a friend who was referring a client of his for an Elder Law issue.  My friend mentioned that his client had bought a “Miller’s Trust” from a bookkeeper to qualify for Medicaid.  Let me stop the story right there. 

 If you weren’t as outraged as I was when you read that an individual “bought a ‘Miller’s Trust’ from a bookkeeper,” walk with me as I illustrate all the errors:

  1. Giving advice on the need for a trust is legal advice; Please don’t accept legal advice from someone who is not licensed to practice law.  A real advisor would encourage you to visit an attorney.
  2. Drafting a trust is also the equivalent to practicing law; please ensure that the person writing the trust has a law license.
  3. There is more to qualifying for Medicaid than just earning less than $2,022 per month.  The “Miller’s Trust” only helps with the income aspect of eligibility.
  4. There is more to qualifying for Medicaid than just having less than $2,000 in countable assets.
  5. Who hired the bookkeeper?  The Medicaid applicant or a family member?
  6. We don’t know whether the Medicaid Applicant has capacity (was competent) to sign a trust.
  7. We don’t know what will happen if the Applicant’s spouse predeceases the Applicant and leaves the Applicant an inheritance.
  8. The list goes on and on…

 Some of us like to be self-sufficient like our Granddaddy taught us.  We enjoy stepping outside of our expertise because we are “do-it-yourself” type people.  You may like to change your own oil in your car or mow your own lawn or fix your own plumbing.  You may have even thought about writing your own legal documents, facing the Medicaid bureaucrats, and representing yourself in a Medicaid appeal.  I wouldn’t recommend it.  President Abraham Lincoln said that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. 

 The person who bought a Miller’s Trust from a bookkeeper should have found an attorney who would charge a fair fee and work side by side with him to keep his legal fees to a minimum and receive counsel, advice, and representation from a licensed lawyer that anticipates the unknown and plans for the unexpected.

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