Guns, Dementia and Medicaid

I cannot count the number of times that family members have told me during an initial interview that the day came when they need to “take the keys” and “get the guns out of the house.”  It is a common issue in Elder Law Practice.

For many, guns are heirlooms.  Whether it’s a rifle handed down from a grandparent, or a pistol bought 10 years ago at Walmart, dealing with guns has more issues than just whether they should be left in the home of a parent with dementia.

Not surprisingly, caseworkers for the IRS as well as Health and Human Services are well aware that guns have enduring value both as sentimental family possessions and as items have nearly liquid cash value.  For this reason, taking possession of guns, or outright transfer of guns, from one generation to the next can involve a host of unforeseen issues.

Of course, as with all such matters, proper prior planning prevents poor performance.  For a host of reasons, a “gun trust” is always the best solution to the problem of how to handle intergenerational transfer of guns.  Since the transfer of guns, outright, or in trust, is often absolute, it is also deemed a gift if done to, or for the benefit of, a blood relative, or spouse of a blood relative.  Transfers of guns may trigger a gift penalty when applying for Nursing Home Benefits under the Medicaid Law.

Talking with an expert in handling gun ownership and transfer issues makes good sense both from an estate planning and benefits eligibility perspective.  Gun Trusts are not just for esoteric firearms, they make sense as a part of a solid comprehensive estate and benefits planning system.

This article is written by an attorney at Wyatt & Mirabella, PC. Always consult an attorney before making any legal decisions. To make an appointment today for a free consultation, please click here to contact us.

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