ADMINISTRATOR The person appointed by a court to administer and settle the estate of a decedent.
ADVANCE DIRECTIVE A health care document in which you designate someone to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. It also includes language of a living will—expressing your wishes regarding extraordinary medical care in the case of imminent death from an irreversible condition or in the case of a persistent vegetative state.
AGENT The person(s) who have legal authority to act on behalf of someone else under a power of attorney document.
AID AND ATTENDANCE A VA compensation or pension benefit awarded to a veteran (or spouse) who is determined to be in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person to perform basic functions of everyday life.
ASSET For purposes of the Medicaid transfer penalty rules; “assets” includes both income and resource.
ATTORNEY IN-FACT The person you designate under a Power of Attorney to manage your financial affairs on your behalf. This person is also your “agent”.
BENEFICIARY A person who receives benefits, property, or gifts under your will, life insurance policy, trust, or other document.
BOND A guaranty by insurance or similar company agreeing to make up for any loss, negligently or criminally caused by an executor, administrator, trustee or other fiduciary.
CODICIL An amendment to a will. The requirements for execution of a codicil are the same as those for a will.
COMPENSATED TRANSFER A transfer or spending of Medicaid Applicant’s (MA) or Community Spouse’s (CS) income or assets and MA or CS receives something of equal value in return.
CONSERVATORSHIP A proceeding in the probate court that appoints a person to assume control over an individual’s assets because that individual is unable to deal with his or her own property due to incapacity or incompetence.
COMMUNITY SPOUSE (CS) The Spouse (healthy spouse) of an institutionalized individual and does not reside in an institution.
CSRA (Community Spouse Resource Allowance) Minimum and Maximum amount
of resources (assets) the community spouse is entitled to retain and have the institutionalized spouse be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
DECEDENT A person who has died.
DOMICILE A person’s permanent residence and the place to which a person intends to return should he or she leave such place temporarily. Thus, a person may have multiple residences (i.e., homes in several states), but only one domicile.
DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY A legal document where one person (the “principal”) authorizes another person (the “agent” or “attorney in fact”) to act on behalf of—an in place of—the first person. It can be either limited or general. “Durable” means that the agent will continue to have the power to act on behalf of the principal even if the principal becomes incompetent.
ESTATE PLANNING  The process of planning one’s property and affairs and wishes as to the
administration and disposition of his property and assets before or after
ESTATE RECOVERY  The legal process of a state (Maryland) to seek reimbursement from the
“estate” of a deceased Medicaid recipient for all the money it spent on that recipient’s care, while that person was receiving Medicaid.
EXCLUDED ASSET  An asset owned by a Medicaid applicant (or spouse) that is not counted for purposes of determining Medicaid eligibility. Also known as a non-countable asset or exempt asset.
EXECUTOR An individual or institution named in a will to administer the estate of the
person making the will. The executor legally steps into the shoes of the
decedent and represents the estate in probate court. The executor is also
called the personal representative. Duties include paying the estates’ debts and distributing the property according to the instructions in the will.
FAIR HEARING An administrative appeal within the state agency that makes the
determinations of financial eligibility for Medicaid applicants. It is usually
an informal proceeding, but bringing an elder law attorney is advisable.
FIDUCIARY A person having the legal duty to act primarily for the benefit of another.
The fiduciary must act in the strictest confidence and trust. A trustee or
agent would be a fiduciary acting on behalf of a grantor or principal. An
executor and administrator have a fiduciary relationship to the estate they
FUNDING A TRUST Re-registering legal title to one’s assets, such as real estate or a brokerage account, in the name of the Trustee of the Trust.
GIFTING POWER The specific authority in a Durable Power of Attorney to make gifts of the
principal’s property to their family members. This can be extremely valuable, allowing family members to do Medicaid planning for the principal even after the principal becomes incompetent. Unfortunately, most Powers of Attorney omit such authority.
GRANTOR The person who established a trust, also called a trustor or settler.
GROSS ESTATE The total value of property or assets held by a person, which includes life insurance and IRAs.
GUARDIAN Someone who is legally responsible for the care and well-being of another person. A guardian is generally nominated in the case of a minor child in need of care or financial support, or when a person becomes disabled or incompetent to care for himself or herself.
HEALTH CARE POWER OF ATTORNEY A type of power of attorney that gives your agent the power to make certain types of health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself because of your legal incompetence. See “Power of Attorney and Advance Directive.”
HEIR A person who would inherit property under state intestacy law, where a person dies without a will.
INDIVIDUAL RESOURCE ALLOWANCE The amount of resources (assets) the Medicaid Applicant can retain and still be eligible for Medicaid benefits.
INTESTATE Having died without a valid will.
I.S. Institutionalized Spouse: The spouse that resides in an institution and is receiving chronic care (not custodial).
ISSUE All descendants of a particular person. The term includes children, grandchildren and other descendants.
INSTITUTIONAL SPOUSE The spouse who resides in the nursing home, when the other spouse of a married couple (i.e., community spouse) is living in the community. Also referred to as the nursing home spouse or the ill spouse.
LIFE ESTATE An interest in real estate that terminates upon the death of the owner of the interest. Until that time, the owner of the life estate has the right to the use and possession of the property and to the rents if it is rented out.
LIVING TRUST A trust established by an individual during his lifetime, also known as an inter vivos trust (during one’s lifetime). Such a trust can be either revocable or irrevocable. Commonly used to distribute property (in lieu of a will). As opposed to testamentary trust, created in a will upon death.
LIVING WILL This is a written document containing instructions to a hospital or physician to allow a person to die a natural death without using artificial life-sustaining means when it is determined that the individual is terminally ill and there is no likelihood of recovery. Not to be confused with a living trust.
LOOK-BACK DATE The first day of the month in which a MA resides in a health-care facility and applies for Medicaid benefits. (Can apply for benefits retroactively 3 months.)
LOOK-BACK PERIOD The period of time Medicaid will look at all financial records of a MA. The Look Back Period begins on the Look Back Date.
MA Medicaid Applicant: Individual applying for Medicaid.
MMMNA Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance: (“Triple M N A”): The minimum amount of income per month a “community spouse” is entitled to retain prior to being required to contribute toward the “institutional spouse’s” cost of care.
MONTHLY DIVISOR The average cost of one month of private pay nursing home costs in your region. (Must be revised annually by the state)
MR Medicaid Recipient: Individual qualified for and who is receiving Medicaid benefits.
PAYABLE ON DEATH An account title in the name of the original owner, but directing distribution to a named beneficiary upon the death of the owner.
PENALTY PERIOD The number of months an MA is ineligible for Medicaid Benefits because of an uncompensated transfer.
POD “Payable on Death” Account. A bank account that is immediately transferred into the name of one or more named beneficiaries upon the death of the original owner of the account. It is used to avoid having to probate the bank account, thereby, allowing immediate access to the funds in the account following the account owner’s death.
POUR-OVER WILL A pour-over will is used to transfer property to a living trust that was not transferred to the trust during the lifetime of the grantor. It is subject to probate.
POWER OF ATTORNEY This is a legal document giving another person, known as an agent or attorney in-fact, the full legal authority to act in your behalf in your absence on matters related to property or finances. A “durable” power of attorney remains valid through the disability or incompetence of the principal.
PROBATE GUARDIANSHIP A judicial proceeding during which a guardian may be appointed by a probate court to manage the financial affairs of a disabled or incompetent person or of a minor child. The guardian appointed by the court is required to make accounting of these actions to the court.
PROBATE This is a judicial proceeding used for supervising the transfer of a decedent’s assets to his legal heirs. It is a process of administering a deceased person’s estate. A will generally has to be probated. Probate is open to the public. Assets are generally frozen or restricted during probate.
REAL PROPERTY Land and property permanently affixed to land, such as real estate.
REVOCABLE TRUST A trust that can be amended or terminated by its creator.
SETTLOR The person setting up a trust. Same as grantor or trustor.
SNAP SHOT DATE The date used to calculate the CSRA. The first day the Medicaid applicant is admitted to a health care facility for at least 30 continuous days and then applies for Medicaid benefits.
SPEND DOWN The method or process of transferring (or spending) MA’s income or assets to get applicant and/or community spouse to Medicaid qualifying levels.
SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE The backup person that you designate in your trust to serve in your place when you are unable to act.
TANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY This is movable property. It would include property such as furniture, clothing, jewelry, automobiles, equipment, and antiques.
TESTAMENTARY TRUST A trust created in a will that does not come into existence until after the testator’s death. It is subject to probate.
TESTATOR/TESTATRIX The person who makes a will.
TOD Transfer on Death Account: TOD accounts are available for most types of “paper” assets, such as savings and checking accounts in banks and credit unions, certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, and other securities. Such accounts are immediately transferred into the name of a named beneficiary upon the death of the original owner. They are used to avoid having to probate the account and immediately pass title to the beneficiary following the original owner’s death.
TRUSTEE The person named in a trust to manage the property and distribute the property according to the terms of the trust.
UNCOMPENSATED TRANSFER A transfer or spending of MA or CS income or assets and MA receives no value, or less than the value transferred in return.
WILL CONTEST Litigation to overturn a decedent’s will for lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence or lack of proper execution.
WILL A legal document directing the disposition of property at death. It is also used to nominate guardians for minor children.

Maryland Attorney Terry Douglas serves residents from Annapolis, Arnold, Broadneck, Crofton, Crownsville, Davidsonville, Edgewater, Ft. Meade, Gambrills, Glen Burnie, Highland Beach, Hillsmere Shores, Millersville, Odenton, Parole, Riva, Severna Park, Shadyside, and surrounding Maryland communities. Attorney Terry Douglas assists clients with Maryland legal services throughout Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

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