Will Medicaid take their money? - AgingCare.com

Will Medicaid take their money?

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My parents both passed away (within four months of each other) they entered the nursing home (together) in January 2013. We paid the nursing home the first three months then Medicaid partially paid the last 8. They have a little money left in a joint account-will Medicaid take that money?

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Different states have different thresholds below which they do not file a claim against the estate of the deceased Medicaid recipient. This is done for administrative purposes, i.e., it is just "not worth the bother" to the state to go after estates they deem to be too small. Note that under federal law there is no such de minimis amount.
In any event, the state must file a claim and if they never do so, you are in the clear. However, some states have recently taken the position that they must be affirmatively notified of the death of the Medicaid recipient, such as by the opening of a probate court case by the estate. As you can see, different states, different rules! That's what makes this area of law so confusing for the lay person.
If it is not worth the money to hire an attorney to advise you, at least check with the state Medicaid department to try to find out which of these rules applies to you.
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I am also sorry to hear of your loss. You did a very good thing taking care of your parents during their final days. You state that your parents applied for Medicaid to pay the last few months of nursing home care, and when they passed there was a little money left in their joint account.

Unfortunately, the answers above are wrong.

Your parents spent down before receiving the Medicaid and they are permitted to keep a small amount of money. If the amount they had in the joint account was above the permitted exclusion, or they would not have received Medicaid in the first place until they spent it.

The amount they can keep differs, but in Pennsylvania where I live and work, it is $8,000.that is exempt form Medicaid liens. You should probate the estate to get the funds held in the joint account. You should also notify Medicaid. You will probably be permitted to keep some funds as executor of the estate. In my state, the regulations that govern executors of estates with Medicaid liens are found at 55 Pa. Code §258.1-14. Do a Google search and take a peek at them so you know what the issues are in most states. If you do not probate the estate, notify your state agency so they can do so themselves.

However, as I said above, the amount in the joint account was probably within the exclusion or they would not have received Medicaid. I do not know your state laws and you should consult with a local lawyer.
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DW - that is a lot to go through this year, it must seem like being in a fog much of the time. First of all are the bank accounts still open? Sometimes the banks will seal an account if the signatures on the account are both deceased. If they are open, has any funds paid by SS or other retirement stopped and if there was any overage paid, has that been clawed back? You want to make sure that there is no chance of being overdrawn before you clear out the account. SS does this pretty fast but some retirement programs can take 3 - 5 months to cease & clawback. the bank will send a letter or statement if the account is suspended or closed, otherwise they will continue to send monthly statements.

have you gotten any post death bills? Personally I would not pay on anything just yet, let a couple of months go by and then see where any bills or statement end up at. If their medical expenses were medicare & Medicaid in a NH, then all medical bills may zero out. But if there was EMS or other "ambulance" transfer services provided, those may not be completely paid by Medicare or Medicaid. Same for some medications. So you could get bills for that but I'd hold off on paying them.

Also you want to make sure that if the NH was holding their monthly "personal care allowance" that you get those funds too. The allowance is between $ 35 - 90 a month (depends on your state), some NH put the allowance into a trust fund automatically if the NH gets their SS & retirement directly. You want to get that $ if it is @ the NH. Both mom & dad will have their own allowance.

Now did they each die with a valid will? If so, then you can go through probate to settle their estate. But depending on your state, you may not need to go through the whole traditional probate process. Some state allow for "small estates affadavit" or a "muniment of title" process to be done rather than full probate. Each are different but cost significantly less than full probate. For some folks, if there isn't any real money or assets, then they just don't ever file probate.

Now there can't be all that much funds in the bank if they were on Medicaid. If you or another family member was POD (pay on death) on the accounts, then you can just cash it out. So look to see if the bank account was set up that way. POD also bypasses probate.

Sometimes if there is just a few hundred in the account, the family will just let the account go fallow and it reverts to the state after a few years.Probate will cost money and if it's the situation where the probate costs exceed what is even in the estate, then it's a why bother situation? Just review what your options might be before you do anything. Good luck.
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Yes, the Executor of the estate must make sure that any claims are paid, including outstanding Nursing Home bills and Medicaid and burial expenses. Missing funds would put the Executor in serious jeopardy with the law.
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Well from my experience with Medicaid all they have to do is press one button on their computer under your parent's name or social security number and their whole life flashes in front of them with all their accounts, $$, etc. They get it all!
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