My mil was in the nursing home some years ago and they took her house so she could get on Medicaid. She died.
My husband kept waiting for them to “ take the house” like they said.
Unfortunately he rented the house while his mother was in the nursing home and used the rent to help pay the nursing home.
Also unfortunately, the renter was arrested and sent to federal prison.
The house sits abandoned with the guy’s stuff cluttering the inside.
After a year of this, my husband was finally able to speak to someone who knew what was going on and they said they had been unable to contact him !
My mil was in her 90’s
My husband is 78
After mil’s death, he has had several strokes and other health problems.
He is barely able to care for himself, much less to be harrassed by Medicaid and told he must empty, prepare and sell this house and give them a certain amount of money.
He is trying to sell the house to a guy he met years ago who is having fun telling him that he will buy various properties and who knows what all ( we are not supposed to know of this “secret relationship”)
Is there a way to get Medicaid to just take the house and quit harrassment?
Husband is only surviving son and thinks he can handle this.
And what will happen when he is gone?

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Neither the state nor a NH is “going to come & take the house”.
Neither is set up to deal with memaws old house likely filled w loads of stuff & maybe a tenant or caretaker &/or a family of woodland creatures.

Ok here’s my take…. the reason the state or the outside contractor for MERP aka estate recovery, needs hubs to do it is that neither have no easy legal standing to sell the house PLUS they are not about to assume the costs of utilities, taxes, insurance and maintenance on memaws house. It’s not gonna be a cute newish 450k condo on the coast but an old place w likely decades of delayed maintenance.
Whatever tally Medicaid paid for your late MIL care is unsecured debt against MILs estate. It’s not securitized debt like a mortgage or a heloc, where those can come in an foreclose on a property, toss out any tenants and sell it. It’s not hubs debt. Its unsecured debt of his moms.

It sits in limbo & stays that way till something can legally change its status. Like an Executor if you entered probate. Like a tax assessor as existing state law has it if property taxes are not paid, it can go up for however your state has tax sale / tax redemption/ tax deed set up to run. ((Most states have a 3 yr system, so whomever wants the tax delinquent property can pony up $ and try to get it at tax sale yr after yr and wait it out till yr 4, but often nobody wants the actual property, the tax sake bidder wants the delinquent taxes w interest (hefty 18-28%) paid to them)). Otherwise its Limbo time! If you live in an area w older neighborhoods, you see these houses over & over….. overgrown yard, sagging rooflines & ransacked house. Nobody in the family has the time, $ or interest of dealing with the place so it sits. Fines go nowhere.

So IMO the state needs for whomever would be the heir to do whatever needed to take the house out of deceased persons name and then sell it and they waltz in to get the States supposed lien against the estate in order for the Act of Sale to actually go through. The heir(s) - whether there’s a will and they opened probate or no will and it’s a intestate death - has a tried & true path for having “standing” for the estate. The persons who have “standing” can go before a judge and seek to get the assets transferred to them or seek to sell to satisfy claims against the estate by selling the house which is an asset if the estate.

Hubs does not need to do anything. He does not need to pay taxes, or have the yard cut, or keep utilities on. Unless he chooses to. If he didn’t open probate or didn’t let MERP know he was seeking exemptions or exclusions to MERP, he can let the place rot. It’s not his problem.

Im going to guess that if he is being hounded by someone from estate recovery, it’s that your state has a outside contractor for MERP. There are 2 big outfits & they seem to approach it like debt collectors do. Multiple letters and phone calls. Over & over. Relentless. The contracts seem to be done that they get a fee for administration and % of the recovery. I think GA uses HMS. Look at the letters, is it HMS?

If so, pls let us know. I’ll have suggestion if so on what to do.
Helpful Answer (16)
Llamalover47 Jul 2021
igloo572: Genius post! You explained the issue VERY well.
How long was your MIL in the nursing home and for how long did your husband pay her nursing home bill in cash? I mean writing a check every month that came out of a bank account to pay for her stay.
If your MIL was in fact receiving Medicaid and they were paying for her in the nursing home, she will have had a caseworker. Her caseworker is the person your husband has to communicate with.
This is important because it could be that Medicaid is not the one who is actually harassing your husband and it's the nursing home your MIL was in who is looking for more money. Speak to the person who was MIL's Medicaid caseworker.
If it turns out that Medicaid did pay for MIL's nursing home bill, they will be obligated to let your husband know the exact amount that is owed back to them.
Call a realtor and have them list the house for sale. "Market Value" is the worth of the house in the condition it's currently in. No one is obligated to renovate, make improvements, or even clean out the guy's stuff that's been sitting there for a year. All your husband is responsible for is having the place listed for sale.
Please don't let these people intimidate you or your husband because they're really just blowing smoke out of their a$$es.
Have the house listed for sale by a realtor, and your part is done.
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Goddatter Jul 2021
Indeed. The idea of cleaning out the house, or paying to have it done, is a huge “no.” Leave it “as is”.

It makes me wonder if this guy who is supposed to be a friend/real estate investor is behind the harassment.
Consult with a CERTIFIED eldercare attorney. Expensive but oh so worthy every dime.
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wolflover451 Jul 2021
I agree. we got a very good elder care attorney when my father first went into nursing home. he passed in 2020 (not covid), now our mom is in nursing home and we used the same eldercare attorney. yes can be expensive, it comes out of the "person they are dealing with" money......and they see it thru the whole way to the end no matter how long. for my dad we used them for 7 years and never asked for another penny and they handled alot of stuff (redid will for our mother, redid POA for mother as my parents first attorney was a joke), well spent money.
Hire someone to empty the house. After a year, all the stuff inside 'belongs' to you. Renters who take off, for whatever reason, have a month or two to get their junk out of a house, then it belongs to the owner. You can do what you want with the junk, you've already essentially 'stored it' long past what the law requires.

Then sell the house through a reputable realtor who knows what they are doing.

I don't know if Medicaid will take a house that's full of someone else's crap.

I'd be on the phone with someone who knows the biz. not sitting and waiting for something to happen. (It already DID).

Ditch the 'friend' who sounds shady and unreliable. You shouldn't expect a dime out of this place. Just to have it gone would be a blessing, right?

As long as you do nothing---things actually deteriorate and your situation gets worse.
Helpful Answer (6)

Medicaid nor NHs take houses. Houses are an exempt asset. Still owned by the person on Medicaid. If your husband was POA for his Mom, he could have sold the house for Market Value and put the proceeds in an acct for her care. That house is probably still Moms. The deed was probably never transferred because thats not what Medicaid does.

When Mom went on Medicaid the house became an exempt asset. It was still her house. Since it wasn't sold before her death, now she has passed it becomes an asset that Medicaid can recoup some or all of the money they put out on for her care. Medicaid puts a lean on the house, its the family that has to sell the house so the lean is satisfied. It has to be sold at market value.

Because of your husbands health problems and you not directly related, you should consult with a lawyer on how to go about this. Was there a Will? Was the house left to your husband? Or did MIL pass without a Will. All that has to be established. The house is part if MILs estate. You may need to Probate so you can sell the house. Were taxes paid, if not, thats another lean. I suggest you go to your Township tax office and find out what leans are on the home. Maybe taxes are over and above what you can get for the house. I think a property tax lean overrides Medicaid. The County gets their money first.

So sorry you are going thru this but you received a lot of misinformation. Who filled out Moms application for Medicaid?
All you need to do is prove to Medicaid the house is up for sale. When sold, the leans will be satisfied at closing. Thats where your husbands responsibility stops. Medicaid gets what Medicaid gets. Family is not responsible for a Medicaid debt. They cannot go after family. Medicaid is obligated try and collect. If Mom had no house, then you would just prove she had no money at her death.

Her Personal needs acct and any money left from the spend down is part of Moms estate. Don't let the NH tell you otherwise. PNAs are overseen by Social Sevices.
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BurntCaregiver Jul 2021

The nursing home the MIL was in would almost certainly have been who did the Medicaid application.
You are correct that a property tax lien does override a Medicaid debt. The town always gets paid first and that is true everywhere.
These folks need to speak to whoever was the MIL's Medicaid caseworker. Not the nursing home.
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Adding on to what Burnt said.

I have dealt with Medicaid after the fact. When Mom passed I did contact her caseworker to find out what Mom owed because the house was up for sale and I needed to know what was owed so I could get enough to satisfy the lean. He was able to get me a letter. Problem was, Medicaid was not quick with placing the lean on the house. The caseworker gave me the number of the Medicaid Dept in the State Capital that handles that. Local offices don't handle leans. I talked to a woman who sent me the info I needed to fill out. Once that was done I received a letter telling me the lean had been placed.

My Mom was only on Medicaid short of 3 months. She owed 6k. That meant I didn't need to sell Moms house at Market Value. As long as I sold it to cover the tax lean and Medicaid lean I was OK. Which is what happened.

As suggested you need to go thru a realtor. If Medicaid amount is larger than the Market value of the house, it must be sold at Market Value. You can't just sell for whatever you want.

Selling "as is" does not mean you can leave it filled with the guys junk. My reality contract said it had to be clean and broom swept. Depending on what Medicaid is owed, you need to get as much as you can for the house. Cleaning it out it will help sell it faster.

It does not matter how long it takes to sell. You just have to prove its been put on the Market. Medicaid will just need to see the contract.
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Goddatter Jul 2021
I’m not following this… If the supposed heir is getting nothing, how is he obliged to do work, or pay to have work done, for a property he will never own, and for which he will get nothing? Can’t he just walk away and let the lien-holders pursue their claim against the property without his involvement? One can’t be forced to be inherit something that is a liability rather than an asset, can they? Any expense for cleaning the property should come from the property value, not out of this guy’s pocket, shouldn’t it? Even if there is some trivial value greater than the lien, he isn’t obliged to exert himself to claim it, is he? Can’t he just refuse to accept the inheritance? I really am curious as I know of some properties in my extended family I would not want to have to inherit at all - too much work for no gain.
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When my mother died, her only asset was her house, which had a balance due on the 1st mortgage of $5000, and a home equity loan balance of about $20,000. The executor of her will told us to let the house go into foreclosure and let the bank worry about it. Medicaid billed her estate for $86000, and it was satisfied after the house was sold at auction.
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He should have a letter from Medicaid now - if they want the house AND they have your current address. Call the number on the form and tell them that hubby is not in a position to discuss financial matters. I'm going to say you may not have a collection letter (w/amt) yet because if hubby called them, doubtful they even know what was left in the estate at time of death.

Medicaid doesn't take the house when someone goes on the NH Med program. Medicaid looks at what is left in an estate at the time of death. Medicaid can't really ask for a certain amount of money because the don't even know what the house will sell for, condition it's in, etc.

I have to ask - when his mom died did she have a will? Did the will go through probate to distribute whatever was left - including the house? If all that was done, the house should have been moved to someone's name by now. If it's in your hubby's name, then get it listed as is by a real estate person to sell it. Real estate person handles everything for you and it's done. You might have to get an atty involved if none of the probate has been done yet since deed needs to pass from mom to son or trustee to be sold.
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I think you need to speak to a lawyer to find out the position of the stuff left behind by the guy in prison. Does he still own it? Can you dispose of it? etc. If you can get rid of it then either fling it open for a giant "yard sale" and let people have what they want, get a clearance company to take the rest and then sell the house. If it won't sell for enough to cover the bill from medicaid with some left over then ask lawyer how to hand it to them. If there is nothing in this financially for you then pass it off to someone else to deal with, but ask a lawyer the best way to go about it because of this other person's stuff.
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akdaughter Jul 2021
The stuff in the house could present a problem. I have some rental homes, and in my state, if a tenant leaves anything behind, I am required to send a letter listing the items left behind to the former tenant. Then I am required to keep the stuff for 14 days from the postdate of the letter to allow the tenant to collect their property. After the 14 days I can dispose of anything that is not claimed. When a tenant fails to leave a forwarding address, I am required to send it to their last known address (which is my rental) with a notation on the envelope to "please forward". My legal advisor told me that in the past some tenants have claimed that they "accidentally left behind a valuable heirloom", and sued the former landlord for damages. As a result I am careful to follow this rule, even taking pictures of the items left behind. In this case, I suppose a letter could be sent to the former tenant at the prison.
No one suggested auction. An auctioneer will sell the house and its contents.

Also, is there a relative of the prisoner to contact about the items left in the home? Or even a letter to the prisoner telling him what is about to happen. Give him thirty days from the day he gets the letter (not the day the prison mail system gets the letter) to respond to you. (I write to someone in prison here in PA. All letters go to a facility in Florida, are opened and scanned and then the scans are sent to the prison for disbursement. The prisoner will not get your original letter, just a copy. Don't enclose anything. One sheet of white paper in a white envelope. Must be white.)
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