Pikula v. Department of Social Services
Connecticut Supreme Court
138 A.3d 212 (2016)
John Pikula’s will created a trust for his daughter Marian Pikula (plaintiff) and her sister. The main trust asset was John’s home, where Marian lived until impairment required her to move into a long-term care facility. After the home sold, the trust assets totaled just under $170,000. The trustee could spend as much income as the trustee “may deem advisable” for Marian’s support or incorporate unspent income back into the principal. The trustee held sole, absolute, conclusive discretion as to whether to pay out principal, with a release from liability for principal distributions. Connecticut’s Department of Social Services (defendant) denied Marian’s Medicaid application on the ground that her available assets included the trust and exceeded applicable Medicaid asset limits. Marian appealed, arguing the trust was not actually available to her because the trustee had unquestionable discretion and could not be compelled to distribute the trust funds to her. The trial court found the trust an available asset and dismissed her appeal. Marian appealed to the Connecticut Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Eveleigh, J.)
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