These FAQs are intended to help attorneys, trust clients, grant applicants, and others understand our Trust and Grant services. If you cannot find the answer to your question in our Forms, information sheets, or FAQs, please contact our office for assistance.
Federal and Ohio law allow any trust funds remaining after the Beneficiary’s death to be retained by Community Fund Ohio and not used to repay Medicaid. However, this does not stop Medicaid from pursuing other assets. If you have questions about an obligation to repay Medicaid after the Beneficiary’s death, please consult an attorney. Community Fund Ohio does not provide legal advice.
A person who establishes a Community Fund Ohio Master Trust or Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust can select an option in the trust documents to leave trust assets remaining at the Beneficiary’s death to Community Fund Ohio. Community Fund Ohio uses those funds to make grants. You or your attorney may call our office with any questions about how to select this option.
The decisions are made by a Committee within Community Fund Ohio’s Board of Directors.
Nonprofit grantees must cash or deposit the grant check within thirty (30) days and provide a written report to Community Fund Ohio within sixty (60) days of receipt of the grant award. The grant award letter specifies the information to be included in the report. For grant expenditures that extend beyond the initial sixty (60) days, an additional, final report must be submitted once all grant funds are expended.
Community Fund Ohio is not responsible if it approves a grant request and the receipt of grant funds causes the recipient or his/her family to lose eligibility for government benefits or otherwise be penalized or harmed by the grant approval. The applicant is responsible for understanding the ramifications of grant approval. For individual grants, Community Fund Ohio typically makes grant checks payable to vendors and will not make grant checks payable to SSI recipients or others whose public benefits eligibility could be affected. If you have questions about the impact of a grant on government benefits, please consult an attorney. Community Fund Ohio does not provide legal advice.
Grant funds must be used for the purpose stated in the application. Individual grant checks are typically made payable to the vendor of the item or service. If you do not use the grant funds, you or the vendor will be required to return the funds promptly to Community Fund Ohio.
After you apply, you will receive communications from Community Fund Ohio by mail, email, and/or phone. If you have questions about a pending application, please call our office.
For information on the time frame and steps in the process, please visit our Grants pages and review the grant application forms and instructions. If you receive a grant, the grant check should be cashed or deposited within 30 days of receipt or by the end of the calendar year, whichever occurs first.
Yes, both current and former trust beneficiaries can apply, but the grant request must be for an eligible purpose. Please visit our Grants pages and review the grant application forms and instructions. Please note that a grant application may be denied if an existing trust has sufficient funds to pay for the item or service.
There is no limit on the number or frequency of applications. However, there are lifetime limits on the dollar amounts that can be awarded to a nonprofit or an individual. Please visit our Grants pages and review the grant application forms and instructions.
Our trusts and our grants both help Ohio residents with disabilities, but they are two different services. A Community Fund Ohio trust is a type of financial account where money can be deposited and used for the benefit of a person with a disability. In contrast, a grant is an award of money from Community Fund Ohio’s endowment to a nonprofit or an individual.
Community Fund cannot provide tax advice, but you will receive tax-related documents from Community Fund and our Trustee as follows: First, before distributing the remaining trust funds to any individuals or charities named in the Joinder Agreement, Community Fund will send a blank W-9 form to each individual or charity. Please complete and sign the form and return it to Community Fund’s Administrative Office as promptly as possible. This is required for tax purposes, and we cannot distribute any funds until all signed W-9 forms have been submitted. Second, after the distribution checks are issued, you can expect to receive a K-1 tax document for the year in which the distribution was made. All tax documents are expected to be generated and mailed by March 15 for the prior calendar year, so you should receive the tax document by March 31. However, the timing of tax documents may differ for remainder distributions issued during the first 65 days of a calendar year (January 1 – March 6). At the discretion of our Trustee, those distributions may be treated as if made during the prior calendar year for tax purposes. This means that you could receive both a distribution check and a tax document between January 1 and March 31 of the same year. After you receive your K-1 tax document, if you have questions about whether you owe any taxes, please contact a tax preparer or attorney for assistance. Community Fund cannot tell you how much is owed or provide any other tax advice.
Community Fund strongly recommends preneed funeral planning and submitting distribution requests before a Beneficiary’s death when possible. In certain circumstances, the trust may be able to pay for items after a Beneficiary’s death. However, this depends on the type of trust and may require approval from the State of Ohio and any other state in which the Beneficiary received Medicaid benefits. Only the Designated Advocate can request post-death distributions. The Designated Advocate should use our standard Distribution Request form and must submit all post-death distributions together in a single packet. We cannot accept multiple packets. Due to the state approval requirement, tax obligations, and other factors, the time frame for processing post-death distribution requests is typically longer than the time frame for processing traditional distribution requests during the Beneficiary’s lifetime.
It can take as little as 2 months or more than 6 months to distribute and close a trust. The time frame depends on the type of trust, the Joinder Agreement instructions, and other factors such as court supervision. Community Fund works actively on wrapping up all items and meeting its legal obligations to the state, the IRS or state taxing authority, and any remainder distributees. If the trust has a Medicaid payback obligation, the state’s final Medicaid claim may not be available until more than 5 months after the Beneficiary’s date of death. In addition, tax payments may need to be calculated and distributed before other distributions are made. Furthermore, Community Fund may be waiting on distribution requests, refund checks, W-9 forms, and approvals from various parties in order to process post-death distributions, returns of unused funds, and remainder distributions.
Yes, if the Beneficiary of an active trust dies, please notify our office immediately by phone and provide us with an original, certified death certificate as soon as possible. We require an original death certificate and cannot close the trust based on a copy. The death certificate should be mailed to our Administrative Office, Attn: Deceased Administration. If the sender requests, we will return the original death certificate to the sender once we are done processing it.
If the Beneficiary dies, Community Fund is legally required to distribute the remaining funds according to the instructions in the trust documents (Joinder Agreement) and then close the trust with a zero balance. Depending on the type of trust and the Joinder Agreement instructions, the trust may be required to pay the remainder to Medicaid or to designated individuals or charities, or the funds may be retained by Community Fund or one of its partner nonprofit organizations.
Unfortunately Community Fund Ohio cannot provide tax advice and the answer depends on each taxpayer’s individual situation. The Trust is not tax exempt and tax information may need to be reported on the Beneficiary’s or Grantor’s tax return, depending on the type of Trust. We recommend consulting with a tax advisor for advice. Also, remember that even if income is required to be reported on a tax return, that does not automatically mean that income tax will be owed.
This depends on the type of trust. For Pooled Medicaid Payback Trusts and irrevocable Master Trusts, the Designated Advocate will receive tax documents on behalf of the Beneficiary. For revocable Master Trusts, the Grantor will receive tax information to be reported on the Grantor’s own tax return.
Community Fund should be notified when a Designated Advocate dies. We require a certified death certificate. If the Joinder Agreement identifies a successor, Community Fund will reach out to that person or entity to confirm that he or she will serve as the new Designated Advocate. If the Joinder Agreement does not identify a successor, Community Fund will work with the Beneficiary, the Beneficiary’s guardian, or other important people in the Beneficiary’s life to find a successor. Community Fund strongly recommends that multiple successor Designated Advocates be named in the Joinder Agreement to ensure there is no lapse in representation.
Paper statements are mailed quarterly. It is possible for a Grantor or Designated Advocate to opt out of paper statements and receive electronic access to monthly statements for download.
This depends on the type of trust. For Pooled Medicaid Payback Trusts and irrevocable Master Trusts, the Designated Advocate has sole authority to receive and request statements. For revocable Master Trusts, the Grantor receives statements while the Trust is not distributable, meaning funded with less than $15,000, but once the Trust has accumulated a balance of $15,000 or more (even if the balance later declines), statements are sent to the Designated Advocate.
This depends on the type of trust. For Pooled Medicaid Payback Trusts and irrevocable Master Trusts, the Designated Advocate has sole authority to communicate with Community Fund. For revocable Master Trusts, Community Fund communicates with the Grantor while the Trust is funded with less than $15,000, but once the Trust reaches an accumulated balance of at least $15,000 (even if the balance later declines), Community Fund may communicate with both the Grantor and the Designated Advocate.
Community Fund Ohio will mail two letters to the Designated Advocate after receiving a Distribution Request. The first is a receipt letter that confirms Community Fund received the Distribution Request. The second is an outcome letter that identifies if the Distribution Request was approved or denied. If it was approved, there will be a “sent to bank date” on the letter, which refers to the date our Trustee issued the distribution check.
The BRR asks for information about the Beneficiary and helps Community Fund Ohio determine whether or not a distribution should be approved. It should be signed and submitted by the Designated Advocate by mail or fax. If the Designated Advocate does not have enough information to complete it, the Designated Advocate may consult with the Beneficiary’s family, friends, representative payee, attorney, or guardian. It must be submitted with the first Distribution Request and every twelve months thereafter, or more frequently if information on the form changes.
It is the form used to request distributions, in other words money, from the Trust. It is one page, double-sided, and is completed by the Designated Advocate. The information on the form helps to ensure that Community Fund Ohio processes the request correctly. It may be mailed or faxed to Community Fund Ohio.
The Agreement Number is assigned by Community Fund Ohio and is found on the first page of every accepted Joinder Agreement and every statement from our current Trustee. It consists of 1-2 letters and 8 numbers. It may also have an “R” at the end. All of the letters and numbers are important for Community Fund staff to identify the correct sub-account. Sub-accounts established prior to October 2019 may have had additional account numbers assigned by our prior trustees, but an Agreement Number has always been assigned and is the only identification number we use now.
Yes. A Master Trust can be funded at any time, although once it is funded in any amount, monthly Trustee fees will be charged. In addition, once a Master Trust has a cumulative value of $15,000 or more, Trust Advisor fees will be charged and distributions can be made. Therefore, while a deposit to an unfunded trust is always permissible, it should only be done after consideration of the fees, income tax consequences, and other ramifications. Our Trust Development Coordinators can help explain our policies to assist a Grantor in making an informed decision regarding deposits.
No. We require cash deposits. We prefer paper deposit checks, but electronic deposits may be permitted if required by the transaction or depositing institution (e.g., sale of real property). Please contact our Trust Development Coordinators for our electronic deposit procedure.
No. Unlike other accounts (such as ABLE Accounts), there is no minimum or maximum amount that can be deposited in our pooled trust. There are also no requirements regarding how frequently or infrequently deposits are made.
No. A pooled trust is different than an individual bank account. For pooled trust purposes, Community Fund Ohio is Huntington’s client and a party cannot make a deposit or withdraw funds without involving Community Fund. Additionally, Community Fund works with Huntington’s Specialty Trust Department and not the retail bank branches where personal banking is conducted.
You may drop off deposit checks in our mailbox. Our mailbox is inside our building and is accessible when the building is open between 8:30 am and 4:30pm on Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Our receptionist is also happy to accept deposit checks when our lobby is open to the public. Please visit our website for information regarding lobby and office closures.
We understand that these are new terms to many people. Here are the most common terms and meanings:
It depends. If the Trust is a Master Trust, it can be revoked if at least one Grantor is living, it was revocable when it was established, and the Joinder Agreement does not limit the revocation. If the Trust is an irrevocable Master Trust or a Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust, it cannot be canceled or revoked. All Pooled Medicaid Payback Trusts are irrevocable from the date executed and do not allow for early termination. Regardless of the type of Trust, it is permissible to distribute all of the funds during the Beneficiary’s life and, in that case, the Trust would be closed due to exhaustion of funds. A Trust can also be transferred to another pooled trust, for example, if the Beneficiary moves out of Ohio.
No, but we do remind the attorney of record and the Designated Advocate to do so when we mail a copy of the fully executed Joinder Agreement. If there is notice sent to a government agency by the attorney or another party, we encourage a copy of the notice be sent to Community Fund so we may retain it in the beneficiary’s file and produce it if the government agency questions whether or not it was notified of the Trust in the future.
Community Fund Ohio mails a copy of the fully executed and accepted Joinder Agreement to the attorney of record and the person who established the Trust. Community Fund Ohio also provides a copy of the Joinder Agreement to any new Designated Advocate when he or she begins serving in that role. The person who established the Trust or the primary Designated Advocate may request a copy of the Joinder Agreement by calling our Trust Development Coordinators or mailing a request to our Administrative Office.
Our Trust Agreements may be downloaded from our website. You may also contact our office to request that a copy be mailed or emailed to you. Remember that the “Trust Agreement” is the document between Community Fund Ohio and our Trustee. The document completed on behalf of a specific beneficiary is called the “Joinder Agreement.”
The 13th Restatement of our Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust was approved by the Social Security Administration and we received written confirmation of the approval on September 10, 2020.
Please fax all written communication regarding the decision to Community Fund Ohio at 216.867.9783 and follow up with a phone call to our Administrative Office at 216.736.4540. Community Fund will review the submitted information and may be able to provide supplemental information or refer the matter to our counsel at no charge to your client. We recognize that your client will need to act quickly, and we recommend that he or she take the necessary action to preserve an appeal of the adverse decision even while waiting for a response from Community Fund.
Community Fund Ohio communicates with the attorney of record while the Joinder Application is being reviewed. Community Fund will send a copy of the fully executed Joinder Agreement to the attorney identified on the Joinder Agreement once it is approved. After the sub-account is established, Community Fund requires that either Section 15.b. of the Joinder Agreement be completed or an authorization signed by the Designated Advocate be on file to release information to any third party, including an attorney.
We recognize that forms and styles may differ, but generally speaking, we recommend using language similar to the following: “To The Huntington National Bank, or its successor, as Trustee of the Community Fund Management Foundation [Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust or Master Trust] for the benefit of [Beneficiary’s Full Name], Agreement Number [Agreement Number].” Each sub-account is assigned a separate EIN/TIN. Please contact our Trust Development Coordinators if you require the EIN/TIN or need additional information.
All correspondence should be sent to Community Fund Ohio as Trust Advisor at our Administrative Office located at 17900 Jefferson Park, Suite 102, Middleburg Heights, Ohio 44130. Our fax number is 216.867.9783.
A Distribution Request may be submitted with the Joinder Application and, if the Joinder Application is approved, the Distribution Request will be sent to our Distribution Department for processing as soon as the deposited funds are available. It is not necessary to wait until there is a confirmation the Joinder Application has been approved.
This is a decision that is personal to the person establishing the Trust and the Beneficiary funding the Trust. A person establishing a Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust has the choice to leave the funds, if any, to Community Fund Ohio or one of our nonprofit partners after the Beneficiary’s death. Any funds retained by Community Fund Ohio are deposited in our Perpetual Trust and used to make grants that benefit Ohio residents with disabilities. Retained funds may also be used to further the purpose of our nonprofit. If funds are not retained by the Trust, Community Fund Ohio is obligated by the terms of the Trust to use the funds to repay any state that has provided Medicaid assistance to the Beneficiary. Only after Medicaid payback can funds be distributed to other “remainder distributees” named in the Trust documents, such as family, friends, a trust, or other charities who are not nonprofit partners of Community Fund Ohio.
Community Fund Ohio partners with other Ohio nonprofits to allow those organizations to receive the remaining funds at the Beneficiary’s death. In order to leave funds to one of our partners, the corresponding Joinder Application must be completed.
Anyone who will act in the Beneficiary’s best interest and can follow our procedures may serve as Designated Advocate. The Beneficiary, so long as he or she is a competent adult, or the Beneficiary’s guardian, power of attorney, family member, friend, representative payee, or service provider may serve as Designated Advocate. An entity may be appointed as Designated Advocate although we require that a specific contact person within that entity be named to ensure the person communicating with Community Fund Ohio has authority to do so.
A Beneficiary who is age 65 or older at the time a Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust is established and/or funded may be penalized for funding the Trust if the Beneficiary receives Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Please contact our Trust Development Coordinators for information if the prospective Beneficiary is a Medicaid or SSI recipient and is 65 or older. This is not a concern when establishing a Master Trust.