Will Medicaid have a Claim on a Family Members Interest in my House?
When a Medicaid recipient who was living in an assisted living facility that was partially or wholly paid for be Medicaid passes away, Medicaid will do what is known as an estate recovery. Under state and federal laws, Medicaid is allowed to liquidate portions of the deceased’s estate to recover as much of the costs of long-term care as possible. Under some circumstances this would include the home of the deceased if the deceased had a financial interest in the home. But there are instances where Medicaid cannot liquidate a home to recover costs.
Surviving Spouses or Special Needs Children
In many cases, Medicaid will put a lien on the beneficiary’s home that can be executed after the beneficiary has passed away. But if the beneficiary’s spouse is still alive, or if the beneficiary has a special needs child that is younger than 21 years old, then Medicaid cannot liquidate the house. In this situation, neither the surviving spouse or special needs child need to be living in the home to prevent it from being liquidated.
For some families, the siblings of a Medicaid recipient have an equity interest in the recipient’s home. As long as the sibling lived in the home for at least one year prior to the Medicaid recipient entering into assisted living and has remained living in the home the entire time, Medicaid cannot execute its lien and liquidate the home.
Sometimes adult non-disabled children will move back into their parent’s home when their parents get sick. If an adult child was living in their parent’s home and providing care for one or both parents for two years prior to one or both parents being transitioned to assisted living and the adult child has lived in that home since the parent went into assisted living, then Medicaid cannot liquidate the home. This is why it is important for adult non-disabled children to change their address to their parent’s home when they move back to provide care.
What if No One Lives in the Home?
As we stated, a surviving spouse does not need to be living in the family home to prevent Medicaid from executing its lien and liquidating the asset. In most cases, if the surviving spouse is not living in the home then that spouse can sell the home and do what they want with the proceeds.
The Medicaid estate recovery process can be complicated and intimidating. The Mattar Firm has experience in helping families to handle the estate recovery process and keep their family home. We encourage you to give us a call today and let one of our non-crisis Medicaid planning attorneys help you to understand your rights and get your estate in order.