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Cohen v. Commissioner

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
668 N.E.2d 769 (1996)


Mary Ann Cohen placed her assets into a trust in 1983 that permitted the trustee to make payments to Cohen in the trustee’s sole discretion. Lilyan and Sydney Comins placed their home into a trust in 1985 that provided that if they were institutionalized, the trustee would only be permitted to make payments as necessary and appropriate to provide them with health, medical, social, and personal benefits and services, if those benefits were not available from other sources. In 1983, the conservator for Kokoska, a disabled woman, placed her assets into a trust. The trust permitted the trustee, at the trustee’s discretion, to use the trust income and principal to supplement any Medicaid benefits Kokoska might receive, to provide for Kokoska’s supplemental care, comfort, health, maintenance, support, education, habilitation and welfare. Cohen, the Cominses, and Kokoska (plaintiffs) applied for Medicaid benefits. The Division of Medical Assistance (defendant) denied their eligibility for Medicaid, finding that their trust assets were available assets for purposes of determining eligibility. The cases were consolidated on appeal.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Fried, J.)

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