My mother and dad are deceased.

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Robles - so both your parents have died, correct?
And they owned a home which is still in their names, correct?
But your mom (I'm guessing dad predeceased mom) was on Medicaid, correct?

If the above is the situation, the state medicaid program is required to do an attempt to recover (or recoup) the costs paid by Medicaid for your moms care. It could be for care in a NH or care provided at home, really basically any medicaid paid care. When she applied for medicaid - if after 2006 - there would be an acknowledgement of participation for recovery within the application or renewals. Recovery is called MERP or MERS - it's an estate recovery process required under federal guidelines for states to get the federal funding matching $ for Medicaid which each state manages uniquely. For TX MERP, (your in Houston, correct?) there is an outside contractor (HMS in Dallas/Irving) who does the initial NOI (notice of intent) and recovery for property recoup. For recovery from insurance, annuities or other financials, that seems to be done by a unit of the state in Austin. So you could get correspondence from 2different sources.

So did your dad die a few years back but mom just died and you or someone eise in the family just got the NOI?
Or have they been dead for a while & are you trying to sell your parents house and find there is a Medicaid claim attached to it?

Whichever the situation, a NOI or a property attachment (a claim or lien by the state) has to be dealt with.

Just what to do IMHO is interdependent on the status of your parents estate. So is there a valid will?; are there exemptions or exclusions to recovery & have you or are you going to file those within the NOI timeframe?; are you opening probate? & if so how are assets to be distributed and what is the value of the recoverable estate? ....all these can make a difference to whether recovery can be done & meet the cost-effectiveness requirement for a recovery action.

It is not a simple one item submitted process to deal with MERP. It can be done, but whomever is named executor as per your patents valid will has to take the lead in all this and start gathering documents together to file for exemptions exclusions or your own claims against the estate and deal with opening probate. TX allows for 4 years after death to open probate, so you have time to deal with this facet of their estate and you can keep probate open for quite a long long time if need be. I think TX allows you to do probate "pro se" but unless you are very legally savvy imo you need to have a probate atty to deal with this as its usually an online filing for the docket.

But the questionnaire sent by HMS has to be answered to within the 90/120 days within the NOI. As they need to determine if & how the property could be initially exempt - like there is a disabled heir, or surviving spouse or low income heir. If you do nothing, it implies that the amount is valid and there are no exemptions, exclusions or other conditions to offset or negate the Medicaid claim.

Now if your folks died without having a will that is a kinda different situation. They are considered to have died intestate & its my understanding that for most situations all assets of the estate escheat to the state. To me, not having a valid will is a very VERY disadvantageous position for family as family will have to get an atty do the lineal heirship route first and then have all heirs deal with MERP plus all issues with the house for possibly several months or years till all worked through......

Also If mom just died, realize the tax assessor will find out and you could find property taxes jump astronomically.
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Alvin, could you clarify some issues first?

What Medicaid might take is also dependent on the titling of the house. You'll need to check the deed by which they took title. If you can locate their title policy, it should reflect that information, or you can get a copy of the deed at the county courthouse register of deeds department.

If they held title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, unless specified otherwise, they each held a 50% interest. When your father died, that interest automatically became your mother's interest, and she would hold a 100% interest.

If title was held in some other method and not as joint tenants, then you might need to clarify with a real estate attorney what interests your mother still has, and the % of interest.

When your father died, was anyone handling probating of the will, or was there a trust? If there was a Personal Rep, Executor or Executrix, have you checked with that person on titling of the deed?
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Veronica91 your comment about not fair taxpayers pick up the tab is comical in a way. Don't taxpayers pick up the tab for those incarcerated?

That being said, with both parents deceased, Medicaid will get the home to resell and hopefully recoup any money spent on care. That's why it is recommended to stay on Private pay as long as possible.
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You will have to check but I believe the house remains in the name of the spouse still living in it but when that person dies Medicaid will claim it if the institutionalized has not had their full expenses covered by other means.
Medicaid varies from State to State but in general when someone enters a nursing home on Medicaid the spouse remaining is allowed to keep the house,one car, things like personal belongings and household items, and a certain amount of cash. On their death Medicaid will claim everything remaining this applies whether the Medicaid recipient is still living or not.
You are not allowed to remove anything after the death and medicaid will be quick to padlock all doors so if there are personal items you need remove them before the death because you won't be allowed back in the house. A Realtor will arrange for the house to be cleared out and sold. After all a resident's care has to be paid for somehow and it is not fair to expect taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Selling the house prior to the death won't get around this because of the five year look back period so the proceeds of the sale would have to be handed over. Difficult if the money has long since been spent and can't be recovered.
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