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Mom passed and they are saying I have to. I don't have money for repairs and it would never pass any code for sale. They are telling me I have to make it sellable, but it's not my home and she passed. I don't have the money for an attorney either. What do I do?

Find Care & Housing
Try again to see a lawyer. There are exemptions to Medicaid's right to recover their expenses from the estate.

This article states:

..." there will be no recovery made against the exempt home of a Medicaid recipient (i.e. it will not have to be sold to pay back the state)" ...if

"A son or daughter (of any age) of the Medicaid recipient lived in the house for at least two years immediately prior to the date the recipient was admitted to the nursing home, has continuously lived in the house since then, and provided care to the Medicaid recipient prior to their placement, which permitted them to delay entering the nursing home."

https://www.agingcare.com/articles/medicaid-repayment-of-nursing-home-estate-recovery-150497.htm

You sound as though you are grieving and tired. If you don't have the energy to follow up on this, maybe your sisters do? Can you contact Legal Aid? The home sounds like it is eligible for this exemption and you sound like you could use the money for your future.
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Reply to Marcia7321
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Igloo, you are so correct. Even down to color of the paint and what plants can be planted. Don't forget, like I did, about HOAs and their power to rule. I was just trying to keep it simple. So many jurisdictions require a licensed contractor and building permits for the simplest repair. To date, the only thing that I am aware of that hasn't been touched is changing a light bulb.
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Reply to OldSailor
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Old sailor - totally and add on time & $$ & hearings if property is in any sort of historic or landmark designated district. As you cannot just run off to Lowe’s to get a new window as there are historic specs for the mullions and muntins and you do it wrong & they’ll need to get pulled.... as I and other neighbors will report it. I’ve dealt with slate roof repairs and replacement required as property in HDL, forever to get insurance to agree to pay for slate and almost another year to get it delivered and installed. 2 blue tarps of time.
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Reply to igloo572
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Sonja - you posted that you were thinking of getting putting it up for sale at whatever the new appraisal comes in at.
In my not an attorney experience the problem is that You do NOT have legal standing to sell the property.... it’s still in your dad and your mom’s name, correct? And to make it more complicated, your dad died before mom and it never got titled to just her name after his death, right? Probate has not been opened for either of them, right? And neither has any sort of small estates affidavit or muniment of title action been filed at the courthouse? If all this is right, then there’s nobody who has legal standing to represent or sell assets of their estates.

Any traditional property sale will involve the buyer getting a mortgage; and that means that the mortgage lender will require title insurance. To get title insurance a title co is hired to do a deep dive on the chain of all documents filed on the house to ferret out any issues in ownership, liens on property or workman’s claims as well as establishing that any old mortgages or HELOCs are cancelled or “struck”. There will be “clouds on the title” if there’s anything amiss and it can kill a sale or delay it. If you sign off on the listing agreement with a Realtor, imo you absolutely have to write in the agreement that there’s the potential for Medicaid claim/lien & probate actions needed for sale to be done (due to your not having legal standing to sign off on any paperwork as your not an owner and not yet an executor). I think you’ll find it will be extremely hard to sell the house as the situation is now. My be one of those “ugly property” outfits would buy it but I’d bet they would pay under the land value by 25% and put all paperwork costs onto the “seller”. If payment is via a check in your parents names (as it’s still in both their names), you can’t deposit it until you get a bank account opened as “estate of” and with a new Fed ID # issued to it.

I mention all this as it sounds like you’re overwhelmed. Theres a lot of potential pitfalls in doing anything unless you are willing to legally file to take charge of this hot mess of a monkey and become administrator or Executor for their estates and front the $ to do this and do it for however long it takes in probate. And it’s not a cute little Capucin monkey living in a modern beach condo in Gulf Shores, AL but an old matted Orangutan in an even older house with years of delayed maintenance that’s your monkey. If you can’t do it, and your siblings can’t do it, then mail the keys via certified mail with the RRR card to the state and walk away.
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Reply to igloo572
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If the repairs are more than cosmetic you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in code up grades before any maintenance or repairs begin.
sixty years ago all of the building codes were much less restrictive. don't forget local zoning ordinances that would have to be met as well.
If you know a general contractor or engineer they might be able to give you an update on about how much it would cost in your area to get the house ready for sale.
this information could be used by you to argue against doing anything more than just walk away.
Here are a couple of examples:
Kitchen sink has a leak. If yes here is what could be a potential expense:
1. repair leak.
2. repair cabinet. Did leak go thru to flooring?
3. repair flooring. How old is floor covering? Does it contain asbestos?
4. cost of asbestos removal?
( same can apply to most any room)
5. upgrade electrical outlets new the sink with ground fault recepticles.
6. will the main breaker box have to be upgraded to comply with code changes?
A simple leak in the kitchen sink can run into several thousand dollars.
Better the state sell it as a fixer upper.
Best of luck.
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Reply to OldSailor
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BikerBob - you rock! yeah totally, “they” whether it’s Medicaid, mortgage company, hospital, Bar Association, need for someone to be the point person for them to notify and contact. The system is set up for this. But family &/or heirs don’t have to. If no assets, no benefit, why bother.

When Medicaid Estate Recovery planning was being done it was early this millennium as it was signed into Bush era Deficit Reduction Act of 2005. This was totally during the go go years of the housing boom. Everybody could get huge mortgages even with low income. Crappy old houses were little gold mines to sell or reverse mortgage upon. Then the housing crash & tightening of lending. And maws old house with decades of delayed maintenance, filled with old people’s stuff, can’t sell for even its tax assessor value as it’s not renovated with granite countertops and rainfall shower heads which buyers expect. Add in if maw goes onto Medicaid and wants to keep her home, then spending any $ on the home other than insurance, taxes or required maintenance is not in moms heirs best interest. I really think that as more & more families really realize what Medicaid’s Estate Recovery can mean, and if what the OP, Sonja8084, has had happened to her with Recovery pressuring her to repair, renovate & spend on a property that she does not own, that family/ heirs will flat just walk away from the property and let the state /Medicaid/MERP/tax assessor figure out what to do. If house goes blighted, gets vagrants, stripped of its architectural details, it’s not your property not your problem. 

Toad - going through the process of selling the house and asking court clerks for help totally makes sense IF you stand to benefit. But for those on LTC NH Medicaid, there’s likely a 6 figure Medicaid lien or claim involved. Average NH stay is 2 years & at 10k a mo NH cost that’s 240k possible Medicaid lien / claim.  If you don’t have exemptions or exclusions to MERP, or a unique reason to keep home, then imo spending time & $ on the house is of no benefit unless property is low value or over 300k to make it worthwhile to deal with. 
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Reply to igloo572
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You are not responsible for your mother's debts to Medicaid or anyone else. If they have a lien on the home then they'll take it in an effort to satisfy the lien, but whether it does or not is their issue.
When my brother (who was an attorney) passed, he left one adult son, a house with a mortgage larger than it could be sold for, and a small mountain of debt. I advised my nephew to just take what he wanted from the house and walk away as there was no check coming his way in the end if he went to the trouble of selling it. As a courtesy I called the bank to tell them there was not an executor for the estate and that the house was now abandoned as far as the family was concerned.
I also called the State's Bar Association to tell them he had passed being he was in practice for himself. Like with the bank I told them there was not an executor for the estate, that the family was just walking away, and that I was letting them know as a courtesy given my brother had open cases. They told me I had to become the executor and that I had to contact all of my brother's current and past clients offering to send them their files or pass them on to new attorneys. I told them I don't have to do anything and that I was doing them a favor alerting them to the situation. I also let them know that the landlord was planning on stepping in to reclaim the office space and would be tossing everything in it. They again insisted that I had to become the executor and deal with it all. I again told them I don't have to do anything and it was up to them whether they allowed the landlord to just toss it all. They hired an attorney to deal with it.
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Reply to BikerBob
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Probate court clerks can be very helpful. Go there, take all of your papers and speak to them. If no executor has been appointed for the estate, get yourself appointed. At that point you would have legal authority to sell the house as is. Consult a real estate agent. The house is sitting on land, right? Land is worth money. If I had nothing but a dog house on my acre of land, a real estate agent would be pricing it at $100,000.
Someone will buy this property. Look into free legal services. Law firms do some pro bono (that means free) work.
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Reply to Toadhall
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Sonja - Alfred has written imo what the key is in your situation..... “they want you to make their job easier”. Their implying that you have to / must / are required to do things so that you legally get named executor and open probate so they can file a claim / lien in the usual manner for AL probate laws. But you do not have to do anything. Heirs walk on being involved in establishing Heirship or opening probate all the time as they have no desire to deal with the estate for whatever reasons.

Medicaid estate recovery - which I think for AL is done by an outside contractor, look at the NOI (notice of intent) that was sent to you to see who - probably cannot easily move to get acquisition of the home as I’d bet AL probate has the heirs are viewed as first & foremost for distribution of assets of the estate while Medicaid as an unsecured creditor is lower priority claim. And add onto this that home wasn’t ever moved to your mom’s name after your dad died so it’s 2 layers of probate to get through...... if your dads will left his estate divided among your mom and you 3 kids, that likely needs to be probated first if there’s still time on filing his will. Or it all goes to mom as surviving spouse but still there’s paperwork to do to get clear change to the title. It’s easier to have a heir ask court to do this. If you don’t then it’s oodles more involved for the state and the outside contractor to acquire property. They are going to have someone either an atty or paralegal actually file to be named independent administrator for dads estate, present themselves to the court in your county, and post notices and possibly have hearings to establish this and then go through it again once it becomes your mom’s name. Time and $$$$...... state would rather you do & pay for and they just file a claim.

Plus every day there’s co$t$ on the house. Tax assessor will find out eventually that she has died and the property taxes will increase significantly as no homestead exemption anymore & they can retro taxes to day of death. County tax assessor will place a tax lien on the property if that isn’t paid and it will go up for annual tax sale and then someone will do a tax sale redemption on it. 

If you really truly could care less, then walk away & mail the keys to MERP sent certified mail with the green return registered receipt postcard. The duo from USPO will run you under $10. And the green RRR will have a signature mailed back to you at your new address. It’s my understanding that signature is considered “legal”. Don’t bother getting an appraisal done. Walk away. 

Now if it’s more than mom just died and your flat worn out to deal with all this but maybe, like really maybe, would like to, that’s different. If so, you’re going to need a probate atty to deal with dads and mom’s death. Probate attorney not an Elder law attorney. It will have costs to do but you should ask the attorney about your filing all old property costs as your own claim against the estate, then filing whatever costs once your named executor as well. If your siblings have laid property costs, they too can file a claim. And get property inspected and then give inspection report to the appraiser. Whatever the appraisal places as value can be entered into probate and set the value of this asset of the estate. If it’s less - even way way less - than the 98k the assessor has, it is what it is. 

The decision is up to you. Don’t let yourself be pressured to do things. Good Luck.
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Reply to igloo572
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Don't let them scare you with the "probate costs" threat. In your mom's case, the costs of probate would probably be minimal, and they would come out of the proceeds for the sale of the house. In any event, you are not even obligated to initiate the probate process to get the house sold. They are trying to get you to make their job easier. As others have suggested, send them the keys and a certified letter explaining the situation and let them worry about it.
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Reply to AlfredR
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Sonja maybe you can google online for a "senior help-line" or "elder care hotline."

https://www.seniorliving.org/basics/helpline/
I google for...... senior law helpline

I have NOT ever called and I DO NOT have any recommendations for what place is better to call. but it says they give advice for free. (and make your own decisions in the end. its just advice)

I think I remember someone said to call your local aging and adult office. if they can not help you. maybe they can give you a number to someone who can.



edit if anyone ask for credit card or money, then just hang up :)
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Reply to wally003
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There's no other assets at all. Just the home. They (sisters) are aware of the situation. Obviously they're not concerned. One sister had to borrow money just to fly home for Moms funeral. They have no money either.  I'm just going to get out of home, get a new appraisal, and put it up for sale for that amount. It won't sale unless someone comes along and wants to make the repairs and flip the home though. My uncle paid $10,000 to an Elder Attorney. He ended up making huge promises but not helping my uncle at all. I'm ready to cry.
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Reply to Sonja8084
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If no executor was named, was this a home made will, i.e., someone other than an attorney created it? I'm almost afraid to ask, but did your parents draft the will themselves?

If all three of you inherit the home, then your 2 sisters have inherited interests, regardless of whether they helped with care or not. Are they aware of the Medicaid situation?

I'm thinking more now that you really need to get an attorney involved to make sure that your sisters as co-heirs are in agreement with the decision to just walk away from the house. Don't take the chance that they may come back later and question your decision.

I understand the issues of nonparticipating siblings. Truly I do. But I'm thinking of easing out of the obligations and want to ensure that you do it properly and legally.

Are there any other assets to dispose of/
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Reply to GardenArtist
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My Mom and Dad did have a will. It left the home to the children. I have 2 sisters and I had a brother who is deceased. One sister lives in Japan and the other in Hawaii. They didn't live close and could not help with Mom at all. There was never an executor named in the will. I've never even been to an attorney or court concerning this house or the will. All I had was the Power of Attorney that allowed me to make decisions on her behalf. To be honest, I probably made some bad decisions in those 10 years since my Dad passed. I should have been more in top of things. I will warn people from now on though. The home is still in my Mom and Dads name.
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Reply to Sonja8084
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Sonja, there's another aspect to this issue.

Just to clarify, when you wrote "There's no executor of will. " did you mean that there's a will but no executor named, or that there's neither a will or executor? In other words, did she die intestate, which means w/o a will?

If so, then who inherits the house would be subject to Alabama intestacy laws. Google "Alabama Intestacy laws"; there are several hits. This is a statutory source:

https://law.justia.com/codes/alabama/2016/title-43/chapter-8/article-3

And this is a more readable explanation of who gets what if someone dies without a will:

https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/intestate-succession-alabama.html

The reason I explored this is because I was wondering if you inherited the house entirely by yourself, and actually had an inherited ownership as well as possible tax, upkeep, etc. responsibility....subject to the Medicaid lien.

I was also wondering if you or anyone else actually had an inherited interest in the estate, any obligation for disposition, or any interest at all.

If you had NO interest under intestacy laws, then you don't even have the basis or liability for maintaining the estate, and the issue of needing to repair is it moot.

If you are the sole intestacy heir, there's an issue that I don't have the expertise to address: do you have title or upkeep obligation w/o transfer of title to you through a probate intestacy proceeding? This is kind of a "being in limbo" situation.

If I were in this situation, I would probably request that Medicaid provide statutory authority for my obligation to maintain property to which I did not (yet) have title, and for which I had NO FUNDS to use for maintenance. Shift the burden to Medicaid to prove that you have to maintain the property.

Alternatly, since the attorneys you've contacted haven't been responsive, there are two options that I can think of:

1. Get free legal advice from senior centers on whether or not you do have any obligation for the house and property. They may see a potential client and provide just enough information to convince you to hire them. What you do then is make sure you understand the situation, do more research if you have to, then see a different free advice attorney with the updated facts.

This is really to clarify that you have NO obligation for the house or property, and can freely move on.

2. Or you could just notify Medicaid that you do not believe that you have any legal interest or liability for the property, and would be willing to execute a Quit Claim Deed to Medicaid if THEY determine and CAN PROVE that you do have an interest.

This is really a maneuvering tactic, kind of a "prove it or shut up" issue.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Here the lien is put on the home at the time the person goes into the Nursing Home. That was 5 years ago. They said that they spent well over 200,000 on her in those five years. 😕 So yes, the amount owed is over double what they say the home is worth. I don't have a problem moving. Never had a problem with Medicaid taking the home. The problem I have is putting any more money in repairs so that it can be sold into this house that doesn't belong to me. And keeping up the home, the insurance and property taxes after I've moved out on a home that isn't mine
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Reply to Sonja8084
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You may need a lawyer. Did you sign a lean before Moms death? Here in NJ leans are not put on houses until the persons death. Mom has been gone since Sept 2017 and no one has contacted me about signing a lean. I have a letter I requested so I knew how much was owed to Medicaid so I could price the sale of the house. How much is owed Medicaid? More than the house is worth? Your problem here maybe you agreed to certain things to stay in the house.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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I will check out the website. Thank you! If they're just trying to scare me, it worked. Lol. I just lost my sweet Mom 60 days ago, and now this. I've been feeling so alone in all this. I can't wait to just get out of the house!
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Reply to Sonja8084
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Sonja- Here's a link to a Q&A list concerning Medicaid and probate/estate recovery.

http://www.thelongtermcarespecialist.com/ltcquestions.html

From what I read, in order for Medicaid to recover the costs it paid for your mother, Medicaid will file a claim with a probate court. The house and all other assets will be sold to pay Medicaid and all other creditors in full. If there is any money left, it'll go to the heirs. If there's not enough to pay Medicaid and other creditors, they will have to take the losses. They can not go after the heirs.

Probate can not be avoided, it's a given, and the probate court process will cost what it will cost. Those costs will be paid from the sale of the house. So, for the Medicaid rep to use probate costs to threaten you is almost laughable.

You can thank Medicaid for allowing you to stay in the home, but you owe Medicaid nothing. And they know it. They are hoping you don't.

Let us know how it all turns out so we can learn from your experience.
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Reply to polarbear
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Tell them that the house is theirs, lock, stock and barrel.

Send a certified letter telling them that since your mom has passed and they have a legitimate right to the house you are now currently situated at a new address and just wanted to advise them that the house has been put on the market and the real estate agent has there contact info and the lien will be dealt with in escrow. Let them know that the real estate agent has priced the home at fair market value. (An appraisal doesn't mean a locational price, it is the condition,  location, square footage,  amenities and more.) They can not expect more then that, if they do, it's some ignorant person that is gonna show how wonderful they are by tormenting some one in the middle of a huge lose. Ugh, some people turn my stomach

I am sorry for the loss of your mom.

By the way, probate would be expensive for them as they would have to start the legal process.

Be sure and put everything in writing, people will lie, can't argue with a written document. If they call, tell them you want it in writing as you can not possibly keep track of all their threats while you are doing your due diligence in the matter, then say goodbye and hang up. Do this everytime they call, Cruz if you go to court, no judge will listen to he said she said, they will look at a letter and take that into consideration. KEEP A COPY of everything you send, along with the return receipt showing who signed for it.

Best of luck, dealing with our government is a real pain.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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BTW, I have called 2 attorneys who specialize in Elder Law. I left brief message about my situation. Neither called me back. They make big bucks on Elder Law. There's just no money here for them to make.
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Marcia7321 Jul 19, 2018
I don't know how ethical my suggestion is but maybe don't lay the whole "there's no money in this for you" scenario out when you contact the Elder Care Lawyer. The consultation is free because they are willing to take the chance that they might recommend some legal work and you'd pay them to do it. If you lead with "There isn't anything in this for you." , you are going to get less offers of a free consultation. You just need someone to explain the laws to you. In my opinion, they consider the time spent on the free consultation like advertising or marketing.

In my opinion, if there is a way for you to keep the money from the sale of the property because of your caretaker status, you should at least know about it.

Try saying "I am interested in a consultation about settling an estate that has a Medicaid lien." Make sure you are contacting someone with experience in this area.
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Maybe she means it would be costly to you, IF you wanted to fight to keep the house. Assuming you have let them know you don't want the house and plan to move, they are now trying to bully you. Don't fall for it. Just turn out the lights and leave the keys.
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Reply to XenaJada
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The home is livable. They have it appraised at 98,700.00. It's in a nice older neighborhood. It's not worth anywhere near that amount though. They only appraised it for that much because of where it is. The lot is about half of  an acre and the appraisal is more about where it is than the actual home.  Medicaid said I would have to get it reappraised if I didn't agree with this amount. I did what I was supposed to to do concerning my mom. She was bedriddened and when my dad died I moved in with her. By Medicaids own calculations for what they say they spent on her,  I saved them almost a quarter of a million dollars by taking care of her at home. I could fight to remain in the home under caretaker status but I'm done with Medicaid. It's not worth the stress. I have a place to move and that's all I want to do. Everyone has told me to just move and leave the keys. I just didn't know what the lady meant when she said if the home goes to probate court, that would be very costly. Im not trying to take advantage, but the home isn't mine, it will never be mine. 
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Reply to Sonja8084
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The waiver allowing Sonja to remain in the home because she had been the primary caregiver for over four years doesn't change anything? Just asking, not arguing.

Sonja, assuming it *doesn't* change anything, and since you didn't acquire any kind of title to the property I can't see why it would, go ahead and move and send Medicaid the keys.

And sit easy. Even if the house is not saleable qua habitable dwelling (though you're living there, aren't you? What's good enough for you...), all land and all property has some value. Your mother's debt to Medicaid will be honoured.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Sonja -

In my opinion, nothing you added so far changed the first answer you got above. Your POA responsibility ended when your mom died. You signed the lien on HER behalf, NOT yours. The lien means the government has legal rights to take the house if the certain events happen to recovver the money it paid for your mom's Medicaid expenses.

WHILE you were living there, it made sense that they wanted you to pay the taxes and insurance, and upkeep because those were the conditions for you to live there. But once you move out, you can just literally give them the key and walk away.
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Reply to polarbear
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Try contacting your county area on aging and see if there's an elder law attorney who will meet with you - consultation might even be free or at least on a sliding scale
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Reply to MsMadge
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I live here under caretaker status but I want to move
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Reply to Sonja8084
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I live here under caretaker status. They let me stay after she went in NH because I took care of her for 4 years but I want to move. My name is not on Home, property, taxes, or her bank account. Nothing in my name. The home is 60 years old and needs work. I'm almost 60, single and cannot fix this home
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Reply to Sonja8084
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is anyone living in the home right now?



edit sorry somehow I missed you already answered that. you may have to wait a bit or tomorrow and maybe someone with more experience will have some help for you
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Reply to wally003
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I really need help. I was allowed to stay in home after she went to NH because I was a caregiver for 4 years. I no longer want to live here. I can't go through the paperwork involved to get reapproved. I just want to move and Medicaid is saying if they put in in probate court it would be very expensive for me. There's no executor of will. 
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