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Edholm v. Minnesota Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

June 17, 2013

Mary Edholm, Appellant,
v.
Minnesota Department of Human Services, et al., Respondents.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-CV-11-23237.

Brian P. Farrell, Brian P. Farrell, P.A., Maple Grove, Minnesota (for appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, Corrie A. Oberg, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Minnesota Department of Human Services)

Mike O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Carla J. Hagen, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department)

Considered and decided by Bjorkman, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Kirk, Judge.

KIRK, Judge

Appellant challenges the district court's order affirming respondent department of human services' order denying appellant medical-assistance benefits, arguing that the department erred by calculating her assets to include the contents of an irrevocable trust. We affirm.

FACTS

Appellant Mary Edholm created the Mary Edholm Irrevocable Trust on September 16, 2004. The trust designated two of Edholm's sons as the trustees and her five children as the beneficiaries. A provision in the trust provides: "The Trustmaker hereby reserves the right to borrow income or principal of the trust without providing adequate interest and/or without providing security for the loan. The purpose of this provision is to cause this trust to be a Grantor Trust under I.R.C. Section 675(3) and the applicable Treasury regulations." The trust contains approximately $124, 000 in assets.

At some point after Edholm created the trust, she applied for medical assistance. In July 2011, respondent Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department sent Edholm written notice that the trust's assets were deemed available assets and, as a result, she was ineligible for medical-assistance benefits. Edholm appealed to respondent Minnesota Department of Human Services.

In October, a human-services judge (HSJ) held an evidentiary hearing. Shortly afterward, the HSJ issued an order recommending that the commissioner of human services affirm the county's determination that the trust assets are available to Edholm for the purpose of determining her medical-assistance eligibility. The HSJ determined that the terms of the trust establish that interest-free payments could be made to Edholm from the trust at any time. The commissioner adopted the HSJ's recommendation.

Edholm appealed to the district court pursuant to Minn. Stat. ยง 256.045, subd. 7 (2012). Following a hearing, the district court affirmed the ...


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