I am the executor for my sister's estate. She passed away in June and owned her house. I hired an estate lawyer to help with probate, which will be up in March. My sister was on Medicaid from March until May 31. She was not old enough for Medicare. There is a bill for $22, 000 for chemo drugs in April. Will Medicaid cover that? Who should I call... Medicaid or doctor's office? House is small and in poor condition, so we will barely have enough to cover other bills.

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Nan - ok I understand the 8 mos. & what he’s getting at.

I’d make property taxes the priority. Prop taxes are sticky. Some places take forever for death to record at assessors office. So taxes still based on her being alive with current homestead exemption, so taxes are going to be the lowest they ever can be. Find that bill like ASAP and look to see if that’s the case and how it’s allowed to be paid. Pay whatever way works best for you. Hopefully she was on the biannual or qtrly system, so the tax bill doesn’t put you on a Ramen diet for January.

Please Don’t call tax assessor office, you don’t want them to find out she’s dead till you need to. (Unless you have a ton of $$ to pay the increased taxes). Believe me, they will find out eventually and send out a form for you to attest to her death along with the bill prorated back to her DoD as all exemptions go away upon death. Taxes could double or even quadruple.

If she has $ in her bank account to pay taxes, utilities, maintenance, funeral, that’s great. But if she was on Medicaid, she’s not going to have died with much money. Eventually you as Executor will be fronting the costs of maintaining her Estate. You have to file these costs in some way in PC for them to be recognized and paid from the distribution of her assets. Taxes, insurance, utilities, repairs are all cost that Executor should be paid for from eventual distribution of assets when house sells. MIE = Mileage and Incidental Expenses, your Executor who has to drive to do you court appointed position as Executor, so mileage to/ from at 2018 federal biz. mileage rate is Executor expenses as is hotel, meals or the federally set per diem for the city the house is in. Over time it will not be an insignificant sum to be paid to you as a legit Executor expense from the eventual house sale. Email the atty and ask for them to email you back a format. You fill it out and email back and they should do a cover letter along with Orders page and online file it to PC. Unless your really rural, all PC Attorneys file stuff online.

If your atty becomes a slug, you can file Executor costs on your own at the CH. Has to be correct format, but you can DIy it.

If you have misgivings on the atty, you as Executor with a PC # can email or call PC staff and ask then to get you the docket report. It’s a way to see if atty is actually filing stuff....

I’m guessing her estate will only have that house as the only real tangible asset.
So just how much of a POS is the house?
Is the value on assessor bill at all close to what it might sell for?
This figure is important for both probate and MERP.
Eventually Medicaid MERP will send out a NOI (notice of intent) with amt paid by Medicaid and a questionnaire. Ask the atty if they have ever dealt with these. If not, it’s another layer to get through within probate. Some atty understand MERP and others are clueless.

But until then, Call utilities to see what can be discontinued or downsized. Like smaller garbage cans Or stopping garbage pick up entirely. Utilities may want an actual original Letters Testamentary to let you do anything. I dealt with 3 different companies & 2 were pay the bill / no worries but 1 wanted original LT and new account name change and big deposit, I had to actually go to utilities HQ with a yearsworth of old cancelled checks that showed I’d been paying before death and they waived It all & put my name on the account.

Atty should give you some sort of format for you to report assets and debts of the Estate. The asset list is done first and can be done pretty quickly after probate opened.
Has atty done this? I hope he hasn’t just yet.
why? Well if house is likely to sell way less than assessor value, you might want to get it inspected & then appraised. The lower appraisal value is considered Legal (appraiser puts seal & registration # on report)and entered as asset value for PC. In some states, MERP does not do Recovery on property in probate under certain value
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nan252 Nov 2018
1. taxes were paid by her Jan. 2018 New taxes will be due Jan. 2019, but I have not received a bill ( mail is being forwarded to me, but somehow this did not come). However realtor said it would be tripled because house deed would have to be transferred into my name when sold and I live out of state. 
I have looked it up online, so I know how much it is.  

2. Attorney told me to clean out house and have a realtor give estimate of selling price. House was bought in 2006 for $60,000, appraised in 2012 for $52.000 but 2 realtors said I would be lucky to get $35000.  However they both said Dec. is a good time to sale for investers to get tax credit. 
3.The bank account is dwindling down. There is a car to be sold in addition to house. I put a sign on car, but not much interest. May have to take it to Carmax. 

4. I am the only relative and listed on will. 

5. Attorney told me to keep utilities on because there is no insurance on house. Everything else has been shut off. 

6. I think Medcaid was stopped because she got a check in May that put her 
over the limit.

7. I chose attorney in same town and state as sister to make things easier for me, but he has not really given a lot of input. Am I allowed to check at courthouse for incoming notices?  Whenever I call, the paralegal tells me she will get back to me but she doesn't.
Thank you for your assistance. I understand things much better.
Nan, in my post I assumed your Sister, who died in June, would be 55 65 but not older. Too young for Medicare but low income enough for Medicaid. If she was 55 or older when she applied for Medicaid, Medicaid can try to recover their costs paid from her assets (the house) of her Estate. Medicaid is required to do this, it’s called MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program. And MERP can be attempted for any Medicaid program - from LTC in a NH, mental health services, community based programs.... really any program Medicaid pays for IF they were over 55 at the time of the Medicaid application.

Most on this site are dealing with elderly parents who most definitely are over 65 so on MediCARE and parent find themselves ill and impoverished enough to qualify for Medicaid, & for those it’s usually LTC in a NH Medicaid or a Medicaid waiver for AL. And there’s usually someone in the family or friends circle that has heard of MERP so family kinda knows it’s out there. I realized after my initial post that if your late Sister was between 55 & under 65, nobody could be aware of MERP. You all are too too young for this to ever have come onto your radar. Sadly even if Medicaid was 3 mos, it could be a staggering sum..... 22k for chemo drugs in just 1 mo could be just part of the costs.

So if she was over 55, expect to have to deal with Estate Recovery in some way. If you get a questionnaire from MERP, do a new post and folks here can tell you their experience. Really if MERP could happen and you or others are spending any $ on her property, or have fronted the costs for the probate atty, or her funeral, you all need to keep track of all costs and file your own claim against her estate. That house - even if it’s a real POS - has some value and you should be able to be repaid from its sale and repaid ahead of other debtors as Executor. Being an Executor has duties and legitimate costs associated with being one.

If she was under 55, no MERP.
If you find your probate atty is clueless abt MERP, post that too.
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nan252 Nov 2018
Yes, she was 62. Estate attorney said probate would be up 8 months from date of death ( NOC) for state. Attorney said not to pay any medical bills until probate was over to decide the Pecking Order. I have been paying house utility bills out of her bank account. Did not know about the MIE: how do I record the expenses? I have to travel out of state to her house. Funeral expenses were paid at death. Property taxes will have to be paid soon also.
Thank you for your help!
What do you mean ”will be up in March”?
June 2018 is really like just yesterday in the world of probate.
ok so that probate atty should have
- opened probate and you got named Executor & Letters Testamentary from probate court issued to you and under some specific type of administration. So you have a PC # and can run docket reports.
- atty placed a NOC, Notice to Creditors in the local paper or other legal recording publication. From the date of the NOC, all creditors - including Medicaid- have to file their debt against the estate. Most states have this time limited from date of NOC. If not filed within the precise period of time, Estate does not have to pay it.
- you as a Executor have costs and you should file your own debts against the Estate for every penny you spend. I’ve filed up to 8 categories when I’ve been Executor as debts against the estate. There usually is a pecking order for how debts are to be paid so category is important. Your atty should be doing this for you, but you can DIY it and file at courthouse. Ask probate staff as to format. Format is specific.
- If Medicaid is putting in a claim or a lien, you imo have got to file your costs as debts against the estate to be reimbursed from house sale. If house is low value, POS, between her funeral costs, your legal costs and taxes / insurance, it’s negative asset to debts. Hopefully your probate guy has some idea as to how Medicaid Estate Recovery works and especially for exclusions and exemptions.

In addition to hard costs - like you paid property taxes- there should be MIE filed by you. If your probate guy didn’t mention this....... well he should have. It’s mileage and incidental expenses, like mileage to Lowe’s to get winterizing crap for the outdoor faucets. If you live in another city or state, you can do travel and federal per diem for each day you have to be at house as Executor to oversee legitimate and routine maintenance or an emergency, like gas leak. It’s at 50% for travel to / from days.

You do not have to close out probate & imo as one who has been Executor x3 really you should imo keep it open till way way past doing any distribution unless your state requires probate to close.

The 22k chemo bill - they need to file it as a debt against the estate if Medicaid didn’t pay them. It’s not your bill, not your debt.
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