Can Medicaid force me to repair my Mom's home to make it sellable if they have a lien on it?

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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?

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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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