Can Medi Cal force the sale of my home if it is owned by 3 people to recoup what was spent on one owner? - AgingCare.com

Can Medi Cal force the sale of my home if it is owned by 3 people to recoup what was spent on one owner?

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I own a home and I am on Medi/Medi, I have another sister who is also an owner and she is presently in an HMO but I know as she becomes worse she will wind up on Medi Cal as well as she will not be able to afford all the copays. The third owner is on private insurance.

When one of us on Medi Cal passes away, can Medi Cal force the sale of the house to recoup what was spent on one or possibly two of us?

We have lived in the house since 1980 and we do all have children but have been trying to live together so we are not a burden on them. I just don't know how this is going to play out as we each begin to pass away, hopefully years from now.

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Raven - how deep is your mom into her dementia. Do you think she still competent enough to tell in a tourney what she wants? The trust can be amended to deduct expenses and improvements prior to splitting the proceeds three ways somewhere down the line. Also, I believe each of the sisters could have a trust so that when their share of the House passes to them, even if something happens to one of them, nothing passes through to their own children until all three sisters have been taken care of (meaning the distribution of the individual proceeds to the surviving children would not happen until all three sisters have passed away).
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Wow Igloo, your answer was amazing! I am going to print it off and keep it/////strike that, act on it.

I have to be honest that I was asking a question just a little bit ahead of what is presently happening. I am on Medi/Medi and I am currently a full time caregiver for my mother, who actually owns the house. When she passes away then the 3 of us will own the house and I am concerned as to what will take place since we had thought that all 3 of us would live together to contain living costs and not burden our children.

I know because none of us had retirement plans, (we were lucky to have jobs), that one or more of my sisters may in the future need to go on Medi Cal (California) as well. My concern was that we are putting all our eggs in "one basket" so to speak and when the oldest child dies, would we wind up having to sell the house or if the second or third what will happen to the remaining sibling? I did not know about the exemptions you mentioned. Did you say I would need to file for these exemptions through MERP or Medi Cal, if or when I might become ill and my child would be taking care of me, since I am the Medi/Medi recipient?

I currently take care of Mom (84) here in the house and she is NOT a Medi Cal patient. I hope I can care for her here until she passes but I am not entirely sure if a NH will not be required at some time down the road ( but then none of us are). The house is in a Trust and is to be left to the 3 of us equally.

Does anyone think an Elder Care Attorney could help to figure out how to handle this outside of Medi Cal? By that I am referring to the oldest dying and her children wanting us to sell the house so they can obtain their 1/3 of the estate. This frightens me as I have put a lot of my own money into my mother's home to make it nicer but neither of my sisters have. I did that of my own free will because the house was "in need of love" and I am a visual person who loves to decorate and restore. I have been trying to turn the yard into a place that requires less work and water so when we are older it will be even easier on us, but what if my older sisters kids force a sale? I won't be able to buy them out and now I will be sitting where? On the street? My daughter's doorstep? And I am out more money than anyone else! By then everything will be so much more expensive that I don't know if there is anyplace I could afford to live.

Maybe I should re word that and post that as a question and see if anyone has past experiences to draw from. I am just trying to figure out the best thing to do ahead of time.
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WOW ! FRIGHTENING ! ! Ongoing purpose for good estate planning. It's just too bad that the caregivers are often NOT the POAs, trustees or conservators because "the others" who don't want to make the meals or change the diapers or deal with the mental issues somehow manage to convince the elder that the caregiver is "doin' them wrong" because we're bossy, we tell him what to do, we take away their independence and we're just generally mean. Once "the others" get financial control, they walk away and let us care take anyway, just to our own physical, emotional and financial detriment. And we keep doing it because we promised. And when all is said and done, we probably wouldn't do it any other way. Pitiful...
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Great answers above.
FYI, CA goes to extreme lengths to recover monies spent on those in their care.
One senior citizen,
---who's kids had been adults for decades;
---his Ex wife was long dead;
---and long after he'd gone on SSI with his disabilities,
---AND moved out of State,
had his SSI check garnished to recover back -child- support!!!!
The CA welfare dept. had managed to find him....State felt he still owed the State, as the deceased Ex spouse had received welfare over 40 years back, being too poor to afford to support her kids.
The man had also been too poor to pay child support at that time, and continued to be too poor. He died in poverty and illnesses, with CA still garnishing his very tiny SSI check.

One man had a child out of wedlock. The extremely troubled mother prevented him or any other family ever seeing the kid.
The kid got into lots of trouble, the Mom was incompetent.
Long story short, the kid became a ward of the State, and evidently died in Juvie.
CA is STILL trying to go after the father, even though he'd been denied any contact or knowledge of the kid. Even though the father has barely been existing himself---something over 40 years later. He's afraid to own anything, or have anything of value.

CA has been Machiavellian in it's handling of some things related to going after money and estates.
Best to take whatever legal protections you can, to avoid "one hand not knowing what the other is doing".
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igloo is "OUR" resident MERP specialist...Listen...ACT !
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This is to aid in eligibility but all the other owners have to do is say no. Your best bet is to go to an Elder Lawyer to assist in creating a plan.
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Excellent response by Igloo. Mom and I went to an elder law attorney and went over our options a few years ago. Mom started failing badly, so we did the trust, which puts me as a joint owner. In Illinois we can do that because I have been her caregiver for more than two years prior to doing the trust. With me living with her, that preventer her from going to a nursing home. There were changes in that law within the last year, so I went to another elder law attorney (who only focuses on elder law) and gave him all our documents. He said we are in good shape and told me what to do when Mom's assets get to $20,000-$30,000, because he wants us to start the Medicaid application at that time.

The only correct way to do this is to talk to an elder law attorney. Here, our senior center has agreements with several attorneys, like the first one we went to. He only charged $60 to review everything and meet with us. He did charge more when we redid the house deed.

There are so many rules and loopholes, you have to protect yourself and your assets.

Good luck.
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Raven -It's wonderful that you are thinking about all this now and before there is a crisis. My suggestion is to get all your legal documents together from the deed on the house, the last assessor statement on the property and the DPOA, MPOA and wills on all 3 of you and go see an elder law attorney who has a practice in the county in which the property is located. What this is all about is setting out a plan for the future that will work within whatever your state is doing for MERP.

First of all Medicaid - or whatever it is called in your state (California, right?) - does not make anybody sell their home. BUT what Medicaid is required to do is to try to recoup or recover some of the costs it spend on an individual care that was paid by Medicaid. That recovery extends to the deceased person's estate. This is required by the federal govt in order for the states to get Medicaid funding from the feds. This is known as MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery (or Payment) Program (or Policy). MERP is very much dependent upon how your state law is done for death and probate. Probate seems to be the legal entity in which MERP is done.
What often happens is that MERP places a claim or lein on the property that has to be lifted or cleared in order for the property to transfer legally....someone will have to pay off the claim or lein to make that happened. So that is why we hear...the forced to sell story.

BUT This is important.....there are exemptions to MERP. BUT THEY HAVE TO BE FILED FOR in whatever timeframe your state does MERP. Your state probably has the exemptions on their website. The biggest exemption is the caregiver one - so if someone living in the home provided care for a period of time (seems to vary by state) that kept the Medicaid recipient from going into a NH, then they can file for the caregiver exemption from MERP; another exemption is for aged sibling heirs of the property, they can file for their exemption; another exemption is for heirs of the property who are at or below a set income level - this is about keeping them from having to leave the house but now will have to apply for other low income housing...so it makes sense to exempt them & the house for MERP; there are all kinds of exemptions. You 3 are going to qualify for exemptions, BUT THE KEY IS FILING for the exemption in whatever your state has as their timeframe. MERP seems to send a letter out to the deceased representative (usually whomever is the name on the NH emergency contact form) within short order after the death stating that the state is aware of the home and asks if there are any exmeptions or other situations that need to be evaluated or taken into consideration by MERP before the state places it's required MERP claim or lein on the property. Understand?

So you have to send back the form with the exemptions indicated. There are all sorts of exemptions too. If you don't, then MERP seems to take the position that there is no reason not to place a full claim or lein on the property. Perosnally I think it's very hard for family who are recently bereaved and still dealing with the death to even think about all this, but MERP runs on a tight timeframe so somebody has to deal with this to get the exemptions. I would assume that you 3 are all getting up there in age and really you need to find a younger family person to deal with all this & it has to be someone you can count on to follow through on all this. For some family, having an attorney just take care of this makes sense as they already have your paperwork, etc and know how MERP runs in your state. Its something to consider.

I am very MERP focused as my mom is in a NH, on Medicaid and still has her empty home. MERP is in my near future as my mom is mid90's and just went on hospice (hip shatter). I will be filing exemptions. Now some folks are told to place the home in a trust, & under the right circumstances that can work. But you have to be careful that the trust will completely work for Medicaid as most don't.

Also having a will is important. Some states view intestate death (no will) assets to be escheated to the state. In other words, if there is no will then the state assumes the role of the heir to the deceased person's estate. Then the heirs have to prove lineal heirship. MERP in this situation is different in that the state really is more in control of what happens with the property.

Good luck and start getting your documents together.
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