Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - TEXAS - What is the total sum of assets allowed before the state will feel it's worth their effort for MERP recovery? Does Final Expense get considered, which exceeds the value of their car and combined cash in the bank account.

Both parents passed away within 17 days apart, both resided in SNF, upon death the only assets were a car, which by Kelley Blue Book values at 7K (too high for this car but anyway...)and the cash in their bank was less then totaled of $550.00.

Does FINAL EXPENSE, which is in the sum of over $9K, just under $10,000.00 get considered by MERP the estate is upside down, and my parents are considered indigent?

I'm paying an elder attorney, and I want to get this over with. I owe the funeral home the remainder which is 9K, I spent out of my own pocket a sum of $1K, which I'd like to reimburse myself, and keep the car to offset what I am spending for their Final Expense. Does Final Expense get considered BEFORE assets meaning cash, or car value?

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Diane, have you actually gotten 2 NOI (Notice of Intent to file a lien or a claim) letters& questionnaires from outside contractor for MERP TX? There’s likely 2 sets of mailings for each of your now deceased parents. It’ll come within 2-4 months of death. It is not a warm & fuzzy Letter, but instead rather terse their dead & with a figure that supposedly is Medicaid tally owed & a multi page questionnaire as to their assets. Response to NOI are on a timeline to be responded to. If you do not respond contractor can defaults to there are assets to be recovered & that puts into play a whole other series of letters. But let’s set that aside for the moment...

personally I’d suggest that you fill out the questionnaire. If it actually is that they died with a combined asset of $550 & $7k car, I think if you have your wits about you, you can do what’s needed to get all this settled as a DIY & without an attorney. Under this plan, you get whatever items needed to fill out the questionnaire. It will need that last month bank statements that shows the $550. If you were POD (pay on death) for the account, it is NOT an asset of thier estate but transfers to you & outside of probate. So if it’s POD it is not included in the “it’s an asset” part of questionnaire, comprende? If they did not have a life insurance policy that named each other as beneficiaries, then there’s no life insurance policy $ to get counted as an asset of their estate. So you put in no life insurance policy for the answer into that ?. On the car, you don’t have to use Kelly, you can used Edmunds OR you can go & get a valuation from dealer or licensed mechanic. If the car has issues - like in an accident or engine is useless - value from Kelley or Edmonds will be whack as it’s based on well running car. So dealer or mechanic valuation can be way lower & used as it’s specific to vehicle.

basically you are doing is a Profit & Loss document. Car, bank acct & smallish amount of personal property ($500-800) are assets of estates. If there was a personal needs allowance at the NH, that goes in as well. Only 1 owed car or it’s 50/50. For Loss or technically debts of the estates, you include all post death costs, you or other family have paid for.... funeral & burial costs, flowers, if you needed to pay the mechanic for valuation, have car towed. If you pay for an attorney, that goes in. If it’s as you described it & there’s no home & you can get car value lower, it’s gonna be under 10k. This you can do totally. So you make a copy of all & certified mail with the green returned registered receipt to MERP. MERP evaluates the document and gets back with you as to release.

But imo after this part, it can get sticky.
To sell or transfer the car, you have to have authority to do this.
If you went & opened traditional probate, then whomever Executor as named in will files for an order to probate court judge to get it sold. But probate has costs. I’d say $2-5k+ & done with probate atty as they have access to online portal to PC in your county. If that elder law atty is not recognized by PC & actually has to go in to file, or send thier paralegal, it’s gonna cost you $$. Plus traditional probate put MERP into claim regulations.

BUT, you can instead file a “Muniment of Title” action OR small estates affidavit. TX allows for real property (homes, cars) to get released (sold & transferred) outside of full on traditional probate by doing a Muniment or Affidavit. Muniment abt a 5 page document that’s filed in PC & costs $700/800. Court reviews it & you get new title, so you can sell it. Muniment can take care of car. If bank acct was POD to you, then muniment can imo work as no other assets. But if not, then you’ll have to do small estates affidavit, & this too I think you can DIY. For both, those documents you gathered together for NOI are used to submit for Muniment or Sm Estates. Look at your county website for info. TX is pretty pro property rights state & a lot can be DIY.
Helpful Answer (1)

By all means consult a competent lawyer. You many find the following educational.

"Yes, the state will not ask for money when:
The value of the estate is $10,000 or less."

Also, Texas is a recover from probate only state. Texas has fairly liberal probate laws including a process to avoid probate for estates worth a fair amount of money. A competent lawyer should be able to help you with this.
Helpful Answer (1)

Your elder attorney can and should answer these questions.
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