My dad was placed in a nursing home, I moved in while he's been in the nursing home. I have paid the mortgage payment for 6 years now, can Medicaid still put a lien on the house?

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6 years now, can medicaid still put a lien on the house

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What you are referring to is MERP - Medicaid Estate Recovery Program.If the NH resident has a home & they get Medicaid to pay for NH then there will be MERP - to deal with after death related to the home. While they are alive, the home is an "exempt asset". Each state approaches recovery differently, some very aggressive, others not. So much of this depends on how each state does death (estate laws) & probate and whether it is a claim or lien.

For you at 6 years, imho, the critical issue is when your state enacted the MERP provisions in your state law and if the house is outside the timeframe for MERP. If he went into the NH before MERP was done, then his house likely is exempt from it. But if not, then it is. For example, if the state made MERP law in 2007 but he went into NH in 2005 then no MERP. I think that is how that works. States did MERP between 2003 - 2009 so you need to find the date. An elder care attorney is going to have all this info.

How MERP works is, say they are in NH 4 years then die. Now after death, MERP can place a lien or a claim on the home through probate. So when the executor of the estate wants to transfer property (house) to settle the will in probate, the lien or claim from MERP has to be released in order to do so. But you can do your own claim or lien against the estate but you need to let MERP know you plan to do this.(Also there are several MERP exemptions related to family who lived in the house, are disabled or provided care etc.)

As you well know, once they are in NH/LTC there will be no $ to be used on the home as ALL money less personal needs of $ 30-60 a month MUST be paid to the facility. So someone will need to pay for all house expenses that is in parent’s name. If the home still has a mortgage, this can be a lot of $$ every mo.

It is CRITICAL
that you keep track of every $ spent as you will let MERP know you are planning on filing your own claim in probate for every penny spent, against the estate. You need to let MERP kmow this within 30/90 days of death. The timeframe depends on how their state manages MERP.

Say you have paid tax, insurance, repairs for 4 yrs @ 8K=32K.
Medicaid
paid over 4 yrs for NH, medications, therapists=70K
House value is 90K which could net a max of 81K.

But you let MERP know you will file a probate claim for 32K. The most MERP could get is 49K (81 – 32) but only if you did a sale quickly (fat chance) before maintenance,taxes, etc continue. MERP declines to do a claim as not cost effective. You get a MERP property release, pay off the outstanding mortgage, legally transfer house as per the will 100%, finish probate,

The whole issue of property ownership when there is a commingling of funds paying is sticky. You need to get good legal advise from an elder care attorney who know how your state does things and can get you set up for how to approach probate when your dad dies. Also they can figure out how to deal with the mortgage - the lender doesn't care that you have been paying, all they care about it that is is current. If you were to tell them that you have been paying and your dad is in a NH, they could call the loan. In other words, pay it off within 30 - 60 days and often with an early payment penalty. Again a good attorney can work thru the real estate issues so you get credit so to speak for paying the mortgage for years.

My mom is in a NH and still has her homestead exemption house. It sits empty. I and another family member pay for all related to the house. When my mom dies, we will file a notice with MERP that we will be doing our own claim against her estate. Now in Texas, probate is done by different classes of claims. Funeral & burial, IRS and mortgage is Class 1; Management of the estate is Class 2. MERP is a class 7 claim so all of the other claims have to be fulfilled before they get any $. Because of that MERP is rather low in Texas but it still can happen. In other states it is a lien on the property which is handled quite differently. So you really need to get good legal that is based on your state's laws. Good luck.
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