CATEGORIES: Elder Law, Medicaid Planning, Crisis Planning, Advance Planning, Asset Protection, Nursing Home, Long Term Care, Elder Care Attorney, Medicaid Estate Recovery, Winston Salem, North Carolina, NC.
Seniors who must use Medicaid to finance their long-term care, risk losing their home to Medicaid estate recovery following their death, or following the death of their spouse. In Medicaid estate recovery, Medicaid bills the Medicaid recipient’s estate for every dollar spent on the Medicaid recipient during life. Because such bills can reach several hundred thousand dollars in size, the senior’s home may need to be sold in probate to pay all or part of the Medicaid bill.
CAREGIVER CHILD EXCEPTION
A caregiver child who lives with the senior for two years prior to the Medicaid recipient’s institutionalization may keep the home away from Medicaid estate recovery, at least while that child remains in the home. The caregiver child must have provided care that may have delayed the recipient’s admission to a nursing home or other medical institution. Such a child who meets these conditions may continue to live in the home as long as needed free of Medicaid estate recovery. If the child moves out of the home, however, the state can then legally initiate estate recovery.
RESIDENT SIBLING EXCEPTION
A sibling who continues to reside in the senior’s home following the senior’s institutionalization may also save the home from Medicaid estate recovery. Such a sibling must have an equity interest in the home, and must have lived there for at least one year before the deceased Medicaid recipient was institutionalized. As with the caregiver child above, if the qualifying sibling moves out of the home, the state can then legally initiate estate recovery.
SPOUSE, CHILD UNDER AGE 21, AND BLIND OR PERMANENTLY DISABLED CHILD EXCEPTIONS
The home is protected, and Medicaid estate recovery is prohibited, if the deceased Medicaid recipient is survived by: 1) a spouse; 2) a child under age 21; or 3) a blind or permanently disabled child of any age. All three categories of survivors are not required to live in the home, and may do what they wish with the home following the Medicaid recipient’s death.
ELDER LAW METHODS
An elder lawyer may incorporate other methods to prevent Medicaid estate recovery of the home, including utilizing a specialized deed such as a joint with right of survivorship (JTWROS) deed or Ladybird deed.
Medicaid Treatment of the Home: Determining Eligibility and Repayment for Long-Term Care, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (April 1, 2005), https://aspe.hhs.gov/basic-report/medicaid-treatment-home-determining-eligibility-and-repayment-long-term-care