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My grandmother was named a distributee of a relative's will. My grandmother was on Medicaid before she died, and she died before the relative died. Can Medicaid recover the money? Both parties lived in New York.

I'm not an attorney and can't comment on NY, but.... My husband and I are in midst of working with Elder Care attorney -- while he's still competent -- in anticipation of highly probably issues w/long-term care based on a health issue he's developing.

Our situation is a little unusual but every case is unique. In NJ (not sure of other states), Medicaid can slap a lien on "his half" of our marital home if he qualifies for it. Lien can't be enforced/collected on until I (assuming I survive him) decide to sell the house. I can also be held responsible for paying claw-backs, relinquish any inheritance rec'd outside his estate (e.g. life insurance), etc.

Get thee to an attorney specializing in either Elder Law or Wills & Estate Planning.
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It would depend on how the will provides for the death of an heir and whether or not that share would then go to the other heirs. I.e., if there are, say, 3 heirs, and one predeceased the other, the will may provide that his/her share is then divided between the 2 remaining heirs.

Or, as FF suggests, a deceased heir's share may go to his/her offspring.

That's what I've seen the most in the Wills I've worked on.

A will could also provide that a deceased persons share be donated to a specific charity.

It all depends on how the individual had her/his will drafted, presumably and hopefully by an attorney.

You'll need to either read the will or have it reviewed by an attorney.
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BlockLetters, this is something that one should check with an "Elder Law Attorney" in New York to see if any funds from the relative's Will were left now to your Grandmother's heirs, if that money now belongs to reimburse Medicaid.
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