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My elderly father-in-law just recently died (he was in the nursing home) and I am settling all his affairs. Does the balance of his checking account (this is all the money he has in the world) go to the County? I realize I will be notified by them if that is the case but I would like to know how it works.


And if so, would we be allowed to purchase his gravestone from the balance first? His cremation was prepaid, so that is not a concern.


Thanks!

Since you are wanting the money for a marker, I was wondering if your FIL was a Vet? If so, they will provide a marker but not the placement or marble that it is attached to. Actually there are two choices and one doesn’t require the marble or granite if I’m remembering correctly.
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In the U.S. states are federally mandated to recoup costs from everyone who received Medicaid/ Medicare after 55. Estate Recovery laws are easy to locate online. I've heard it's only for Medicaid, whilst some states include Medicare.
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Also how the checking account is set up makes a difference,
like if he set the checking account so that it is to be POD / pay on death to a named individual; then that person is the beneficiary and the $ passes to them outside of probate; if $ or asset goes outside of probate, it is not an asset of the deceased estate so not an asset subject to an attempt by the state or it’s outside contractor for MERP / medicaid estate Recovery
BUT
if he did not name a POD, then the $ becomes an asset of his estate.

Assets of an estate can get involved as you have to have some sort of document to show you are administrator, executor or other recognized by the court authorized individual for his estate to use the $ or sell assets or divide up assets to heirs. Like JoAnn got a short certificate from her county probate court to do things for her moms estate, I went full traditional probate for my moms estate. We both had valid wills but did different paths to get things done as probate is very state specific for laws and administrative codes. Her mom was in NJ, mine in TX.

But back to you.... so how are you managing to settle this affairs? Like were you named in his will to be the executor, or were you already a signatory on his bank account and it’s POV to you, or for the Personal needs trust account set up at the NH (if he was there on LTC Medicaid there almost always is a PNA set up) were you a designated person to draw from it?
or
are you actually paying for after death stuff from your own $? If so, is there a will? And in the will are you or your hubs (his son) named executor?

have you or your hubs or whomever was his old DPOA gotten a MERP questionnaire from the state yet?
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janevir Apr 6, 2020
All I know is that my husband is on his account, but I don't remember how it was set up. I will check on that.
My husband is also the executor of his estate. There is only about $1000 in there. And he had a will.
We haven't received anything from the state yet. Nor from SSA. I am sure things are backed up.
When my mother-in-law died last year, we got the letter from the SSA within about a week! But it has been about 3 and nothing. The crematorium submits the death certificate to the SSA.
Thank you!
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This is actually a question for Medicaid in your state because Medicaid estate recovery is estate specific and if he died with more than $2k, the state may be entitled to it.
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janevir Apr 6, 2020
Thank you.
Yes, I will ask them. He doesn't have that much (about $1000).
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No, he was allowed to have 2k or whatever your state allows. If the NH was payee for his SS and pension (if he had one),the Personal Needs Acct set up for personal needs goes to his estate as does his bank acct. Ask the NH what you need to do to receive that money. Don't let them tell you anything different. That is your fathers money that was deducted from his SS check each month. In my State is $50 a month.

I was able to get Moms by getting a short certificate from Probate showing I was able to handle Moms finances.
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janevir Apr 6, 2020
I am just getting back to this so it is interesting to read the replies. I did get a response from the nursing home and they said that his Personal Needs account with them (which has about $200 in in) has to go back to the county! Unlike what you said. I would think it wouldn't because, you are right, it was money he was allowed to have!
I didn't think that $2000 meant after he died, but just for the spend down and then until he died. But that makes me curious. I think I will give the Office of Public Assistance a call. Thank you!
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