For seniors in need of long-term care, Medicaid can provide the funds necessary for nursing home or in-home healthcare expenses. Many families may fail to realize that by accepting Medicaid payments, their loved ones have opened up their assets to the Medicaid estate recovery process. Under the Medicaid rules, states may collect reimbursement for the costs of long-term care from the senior’s estate after they die. For this reason, all beneficiaries should be aware of the potential effects of the Medicaid estate recovery process.
Reimbursement of Costs
Many seniors applying for Medicaid to pay for nursing home or other medical care will qualify for assistance even when they have assets such as a house or car that could be used to pay for some or all of these long-term care costs. Medicaid does not include these types of “non-countable” or “exempt” assets when determining eligibility for Medicaid funds. This changes when the senior receiving Medicaid payments dies.
After death, all assets of the deceased, including the value of their house and car, will be reviewed to determine if the Medicaid program can recover any costs, including those related to nursing home, in-home, or hospital care. Under this estate recovery process, Medicaid can recoup the payments made to seniors by seeking repayment from the deceased’s estate or by placing a property lien on any real estate the deceased owned.
Exceptions to Recovery
Medicaid cannot seek reimbursement of costs when the deceased has a surviving spouse, regardless of where the spouse is residing. If the deceased has a surviving child who is under the age of 21, is blind, or otherwise disabled, reimbursement also is prohibited. In certain cases, the value of the deceased’s former home also may not be included in the recovery process. This can occur when the deceased’s sibling with an equity interest in the house resided in the home for at least a year prior to the deceased’s institutionalization and continues to reside in the home. There also is no right to recovery when the deceased’s child lived in the home for at least two years prior to the deceased’s institutionalization (thereby delaying the need for long-term care) and still lives in the home. Another exception to recovery is when beneficiaries can show the reimbursement would result in undue hardship, such as when family members have a limited income that relies on the estate property as in cases of family farms.
Seeking Assistance of Experienced Counsel
Medicaid estate recovery can affect the rights of surviving family members who are beneficiaries to the deceased’s estate. To ensure their financial rights are being protected, beneficiaries should consult with an experienced elder law lawyer who can work on their behalf during this process. Without the assistance of experienced counsel, it can be difficult to prove undue hardship has occurred or that an exception to recovery applies.
Brooklyn Elder Law Lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP Protects Families During the Medicaid Estate Recovery Process
If your loved one’s estate is being subjected to the Medicaid estate recovery process, the experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyers at Korsinsky & Klein, LLP are here to help. Our dedicated attorneys will work aggressively on your behalf to protect the assets of your loved one. Our offices are conveniently located in Brooklyn, New York and Lakewood, New Jersey to represent seniors and their families throughout Manhattan, Long Island, and Westchester, New York. To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Brooklyn elder law lawyer, call us today at 212-495-8133 or contact us online.