The Listen to Lawrence Letter: Do I need to renew my trust and other documents after a certain time?

September 21, 2021
Dear Clients and Friends,
As soon as I received this question, I knew I was definitely going to answer it in my Listen to Lawrence Letter. The reason is that not only is it a good question, but it’s also a very commonly asked question and if you don’t know the correct answer it could cause a very uneasy feeling.
In 2006, I had an Irrevocable Medicaid Trust and all the other documents you have mentioned prepared. Are they still ok or should I renew them?
As of this moment, every irrevocable Medicaid trust I have ever written is still good and there is no need to renew them, update them or change them in any way.  I say, as of this moment, because Medicaid is always looking to poke holes in these trusts and they are, as of late, getting more aggressive. There was a recent threat that the mere mention that the Trustee can make “improvements” to the real estate held in the trust (a clause we had but now removed from future trusts) could cause a problem because it would create a “benefit” to the Grantor, which is not allowed.  I think this is nonsense! In fact, I believe that the Trustee has the authority to improve real estate in the trust even if the trust is silent on the issue. In response, the New York Bar Association Elder Law Section advocated for all of you and this threat seems to have gone away and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
I repeat, there is no need to change your trusts or even to worry about changing your trusts. But understand this…..I have successfully been preparing these trusts for over 30 years and for all that time Medicaid has tried to undo them. They do not like them. Nevertheless, they remain the most effective tool to protect your assets from the exorbitant cost of long-term care (except for the usually unaffordable long-term care insurance policy).
On the other hand, it has been 15 years since this client has consulted with me. Life changes, family dynamics change, other laws change, financial situations change…well you get the idea. It is time for a review!
I hope this helps! Please forward this information to your friends and relatives to share these informative answers to some very commonly asked questions.
And, if anyone you know would like to receive this
Listen to Lawrence Letter, just have them email me at and I’ll add them to the list!
As always, please send me your questions. If you are thinking about it, others are probably too, so my answers will no doubt help you and many others.
Let’s stay connected.
Stay safe!
Until next time…
peace, health and happiness,
Lawrence Eric Davidow