My mom has about $4,000 left in her bank account. Her car is worth less than $1,000, the check engine light is on and the mechanic estimates it will cost $500 to fix it plus the radiator hose is leaking. I was told not to let anyone drive it because the hose could blow at any time. It also needs a new set of tires.

Her funeral is going to cost $1,200 over what she pre-paid. She received a bill for $700 from the plumbing shop for work performed before she went into the nursing home. She was only in the nursing home from the end of May to mid July. By the time the lawyer adds on his fee there won't be anything left in her bank account.

MERP will be basically out of luck if they try to recover for what Medicaid paid and I haven't seen any bill at all from the nursing home. Let's say the nursing home billed my mom for $12,000, there's no money to pay them. There could be more bills come up, we haven't even got started yet.

My mom deeded me her house back in 2008. We were concerned there could be a Medicaid penalty, but my mom has passed away so what are they going to do about it now? Keep in mind Medicaid has a hundred different offices each with 1 to 3 people working in them. The agency on aging handled my mom's Medicaid Waiver for Home Care but they closed her case when she went into the nursing home. They said their office didn't handle nursing home Medicaid and my mom would be referred to a different office. The best answer I can get is that Medicaid had not yet made a determination as that can take up to 90 days. The nursing home says they have to wait until they hear from Medicaid to send the final bill. If Medicaid doesn't cover the first 2 months, then the nursing home just doesn't get paid.

I wanted to go to a cheaper lawyer, but I'm concerned he won't handle things correctly so I'm going to have to speak with a more expensive lawyer which basically means the lawyer gets paid well to inform the creditors there's no money left in the account.

My Cousin thought paying for things like flowers for the funeral, lunch, special music, etc might come under fire when there isn't enough money left.

There is nobody else to inherit anything. My mom named me POA, Executor in her will, everything.

Keep in mind selling the car won't make a huge difference, just means they can recover $1,500 on a bill for $12,000 instead of $500.

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Whether or not funeral expenses would be challenged and potentially claims denied, it seems against common sense to add too many flourishes, doesn't it? I thought you were expecting the funeral to be very much on the low key side?

I believe that floral tributes tend to arrive even in cases where the family's funeral notice states "no flowers, donations to [whatever]" so I really wouldn't worry about those.

Shoulder rubs to you. Your cousin might seem like a bit of a wet blanket, but it's probably just an attempt to stop you getting emotionally blackmailed into spending out of proportion when you're at your most vulnerable.
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First, I am not versed in Medicaid, so this is just an opinion. I would think that the Medicaid people are well aware of what your mom did - and didn't - have. In fact, they probably know better than you do what sort of an estate she left. I think it boils down to dollars and cents. I can't imagine them going aggressively after $3000-$4000 dollars. It just doesn't make financial sense if it will cost them more to recover the money than the actual money they will receive, if that makes any sense. So my advice is, unless you need the lawyer for other things (other than to inform any creditors that there's no money in the estate, I mean) hold off on hiring one until you 1) actually get a bill from anyone and 2) telling them yourself that there's no money doesn't work. I see no reason for you, at this point in time, to seek out a lawyer when you don't even know if the estate is going to get billed for anything.

As far as the funeral - are these "extras" things YOU want, or are you adding them on because you think you "should"? Sometimes funeral homes can be like insurance salesmen, telling you that you "need" things you really don't. Maybe, if you feel like these add-ons are necessary, compromise - for example forgo flowers for the music, if hearing the music would give you more comfort. Just make sure whatever you decide is something that will give you some measure of comfort and peace, not something you were "sold" by other people telling you you "need" it.

And while providing a post-service repast is very nice, it is not a "requirement" that you do so, especially if doing it is going to leave you in a financial lurch, so to speak. Don't try and let anyone convince you that's part of your job, so to speak. The people who love you will understand, and the people who don't understand are just looking for a free meal. Don't be pressured into anything you're just not comfortable with - this was your mom who passed, everyone else should be worrying about you and your mental state, not the other way around.
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One more thing - while a lawyer might not be necessary at this time, one thing you ARE responsible for your mom, as her executor, is a final tax return. I would do this sooner rather than later, because a lot of your questions might be able to be answered by a CPA. And that is absolutely paid for by money from her estate that no entity will question.
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I prepaid my Moms funeral. The Funeral director told me Medicaid allows for the service, the flowers and a luncheon. Check this with your funeral director. You can have a nice funeral for less. You don't need lots of flowers. If a coffin, just the ones put on the lid. If cremation I saw once where it was a nice wreath of flowers with the Urn set inside. You can have a viewing right before the service.

Your house is protected. She deeded it to you well before the 5 year look back. I think ur just going to have to wait to see what Medicaid does. In the meantime, pay the plumber. Its a debt that needs to be paid. Count it as spending down her money when u applied for Medicaid.

I know they can't come after you for a Medicaid debt. But not sure if they can't come after you for a NH debt. There are filial laws in some states, children being held liable for parents care. Thats where u may need a lawyer.
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SGeorge24 Jul 2021
We are not spending a huge amount, it would be around $1,000. My mom pre-paid but didn't pay enough so she didn't get stationary, flowers, lunch, then we have to pay for the minister, music, etc.

She already bought the headstone and cemetery lot when my dad passed away but she didn't pay to have the date put on the stone. Plus there's opening and closing the grave she didn't pay for. There will be other flowers so I didn't spend a big amount on flowers.

The $4,000 cash she had left will be spent in a flash and when it comes time for Medicaid Recovery, we'll be down to the car which I might be able to get $1,000 for if I'm lucky. I would like to keep it, but I'm just starting a new job and won't be able to get the money fast enough, so it would have to be sold to someone who has the money.
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I can't advise you on all the financial stuff, but the check engine light could be on solely because the gas cap wasn't screwed on tightly. Don't pay anyone to fix that until they show you the computer codes that say what the issue is.
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