My husband was donated a house from an uncle (whom never had kids) in 2014 in La. Husband sold house in 2015. Uncle was in nursing home with Medicaid from 2014 - 2017 (died 3/17). Medicaid sent a letter addressed to me (I have nothing to do with it, my name isn't on anything) saying I owe 52,000 for estate recovery. There is no estate and my name wasn't on anything. The family lawyer in La. said do nothing with this letter, they shouldn't have sent it to me. Is this correct?

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Seems there wasn't a long enough time between uncle gifting the house to your husband and then going on Medicaid. Money from sale of house should have been used for uncle's care so now the taxpayers want to recover that money. Are you married still? If so, that may be why your name is involved. I would get serious legal advice - it would be unwise to ignore this collection letter.
Helpful Answer (19)

Louisiana is a community property state. The gift of the house to your husband was his separate property until it was sold and the funds put into a joint account with you (if that is what happened). The comingling of the previously separate property turned it into community proprty. That may be why you are being contacted. Whether or not you or your husband have any liability to pay anything back is doubtful. I'd be sure that the lawyer consulted is well versed in MERP, Medicaid Estate Recovery Program, issues before you decide to ignore the letter.
Helpful Answer (17)

Where is your husband in all of this? He is the one that is going to have to return the money from the sale of the house.
Helpful Answer (12)

Rovana & VegasLady are on the right track as to why you’re being contacted.

Hubs Uncle does have an Estate. By Uncle Boudreaux’s dying it creates an “estate of”. Estate could have zero assets, so nothing happens.  For hubs, Aunts Estate should have gone through a legal process to distribute her assets. How her will reads is very important and distribution needed to follow her valid will and dealt with in probate or surviving spouse affidavit. His ownership % of the assets after death will be very important. Something did not happen correctly for her estate OR the records state or its Medicaid contractor is looking at are not complete. You need to find out what the issue is as it’s not going to just vaporize. 

The letter you’ve gotten is it from LA DeptHHS or from HMS?

Is it a NOI (notice of intent) or collection letter? I kinda doubt it’s an NOI as just too much time has lapsed since transfer or death. But if so, NOI must be responded to & there will be a tight timeframe for this. If purely a collection letter, then someone was sent NOI & the followup MERP Letters in the past and ignored it, so debt is considered valid. Who would have gotten the NOI? What has likely happened is State or its outside contractor has assigned debt to hubs & as it’s a community property state, to you! 

- So, is it actually to you - not just sent to you like “attention or C/O Jane Guidry Boudreaux”? Reread the letter very carefully. Was it sent to you but actually the notice is to the estate of hubs uncle Boudreaux, so your just a c/o?
It makes a difference but whichever it is, still has to be dealt with. That “family lawyer” who told you to ignore it is flat out wrong..... perchance did this very same ”family lawyer” deal with Uncles property “donation” in 2014? If so, & knew Medicaid was involved, very bad advice given & that’s another issue...

-So back in 2014, who did Uncle Boudreaux’s Medicaid application?
-Whose name did state of LA Medicaid have on file for contact for Uncle?
-Who did Uncle Boudreauxs Medicaid renewals? 
-Who got NOI?
-Property “donation” LOL - it’s gifting of an asset no matter what it’s called - so what’s the backstory...... who was Uncle Boudreauxs DPOA? Again was the “family atty” involved? Who signed off paperwork on gifting of house? Who filed documents at courthouse? Was it hubs? So he gifted to himself? Then did Hubs sell house FMV via Realtor with MLS listing & title insurance by buyers OR did hubs do sale within family/friend type of special sale so pretty casual paperwork? Was it done via Warranty Deed or QCD?  All are details mucho importante.
-Sale $$$ went where?

State of LA is terrible financially due to the Jindal years. (I’m in NOLA & mil was on Medicaid, Medicaid in LA is slow but reviews deep). State must look for $ from all sources. Outside contractor if at that point will act like traditional debt collectors. 

No matter how you spin this......The facts are that actions inappropriate were done with Uncle Boudreaux assets under the terms of State of Louisiana Medicaid compliance rules. State views that Uncle Boudreaux had his full or partial share owned house -an asset - gifted and all done within the same year 2014 that Medicaid applied for. Louisiana medicaid application is pretty clear on asset disposition and MERP. State can affix responsibility onto others and has more than likely been slogging along this process since 2015 renewal review. Now state has found you -as wife- to possibly be responsible for debt. This stuff snowballs as once it’s going, the state can attach tax refund, APS asked to do “vulnerable adult” review, etc. Honey, my suggestion is that you asap after Mardi Gras meet with an atty that specializes in Medicaid and probably a firm that has guys that actually do litigation. Sher Cahill in NOLA does speciality estate, Medicaid & Medicare work, they are a top notch firm imo. I’m sure there’s others in the state.

Also have ❤️ to 💜 with hubs as to what exactly done. Trust but verify. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (12)

I would see an elder law/medicaid attorney. The way I understand it, look back effects qualification not recovery. So what should have happened was your uncle should have had a disqualification period based on the value of the house. They shouldn't try to recover from assets that aren't your uncle's after the fact. Recovery is a claim against the person who was on medicaid's estate. Not on their relatives. That's the way I understand it. But I can be completely wrong. A medicaid attorney that practices in your state should know.
Helpful Answer (10)

I would never ignore a collection letter. The Uncle gifted (not donated) his house, but the proceeds should have been used for his care. Medicaid will pursue this collection. BTW, Medicaid must have found your name on something.
Helpful Answer (9)

Sounds like it would be a good idea to consult a lawyer who deals with Medicaid matters specifically.
Helpful Answer (9)

Medicaid will go after funds that were "gifted" that should have been used for an elder's care - they will expect to be repaid the value of the house - since that could have been used for uncle's care.

your husband in good faith did not know that Medicaid was involved - but that does not matter for MERP recovery.
Helpful Answer (6)

This is a sticky situation.  The house was only Uncles to live in until his death reverting to your husband.  You need to get a copy of the will and see how it is worded.  The wording may determine that the Uncle never owned it was just being allowed to live there.  It may have been ur husbands all along.  If so, its your husbands.  So u owe nothing to Medicaid.  Or, might be determined that both were owners then they can only recover half.  I would get a copy of the deed making sure Aunt was the only owner.  And tax records to see if just her name on them.  Did Uncle keep up taxes and utilities?  If not, need proof they were paid at time of sale.  You really need a Medicaid lawyer for this.  
Helpful Answer (5)

LisaB, I was writing my tome (lol) as you posted...... ok by your updated post the house was as per Auntie will 100% to Uncle Boudreaux. He refused the house. So house to hubs. The problem likely is he could not decline the asset as far a Medicaid compliance is concerned. Declining an asset = Gifting of asset as far a Medicaid concerned. 

By his application for Medicaid, state has ability to place lien on assets. How it’s done depends on state laws for property rights. By however done upon death lien becomes a claim against the estate. The amount would be for whatever State of LA has a the Medicaid tally for uncle but based on % ownership of asset. So if $110k medicaid total, & if hubs owned 50% share, it’s $55k. With Interest too, 

By the state having lien placement ability, the property - In theory- cannot be sold with clear title. But if will / transfer / sale / medicaid application all together with short time frame, something fell though a crack. But property details eventually will surface. State, I’d bet, is viewing house as Uncle Boudreaux’s with the sale hubs did as totally invalid transfer as lien was not cleared and that property still owned by Uncle as that is what will stated.

Please tell me it was sold via Warranty Deed & with title insurance....

I hope there was a probate atty involved in all this & they have insurance. MERP is nothing new. Probate attys know about Recovery.

This type of ? has come up on this site before. Usually it’s that a maiden Auntie or batchelor Brother has died. And within their will have left $ or assets to their now living in a NH and on Medicaid elderly sibling. The now on Medicaid sibling cannot refuse the value of the asset as it’s legally their asset so if they decline their giving / gifting it away to whomever is next on the estates distribution list. Gifting not allowed by Medicaid. How to deal with it & be compliant for Medicaid is complicated but can be done if before distribution if planned imo.

But for you all, it’s way way after the fact. I’m sticking with you need to find your own experienced with MERP atty to deal with this. Hopefully they can get it settled with you & hubs “hold harmless” agreement & equitably for all (including whomever bought house). Good luck and let us know what happens. We all learn from each other.
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