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Mom passed away 10/23/2015. We had an Elder care attorney and his staff get Mom Medicaid eligable in 2013 when she entered Nursing Home. Spent down her cash on her Mortgage. He put her home in a Ladybird Trust. Nothing is left. No reason to probate her will. I was under the impression I would be getting letter from MERP within 7 to 10 days following her death inquiring as to whether there was an estate. No letter. Have contacted attorneys office about executing the Ladybird Trust. So...my question is if there is no probate will I get the questionare I have been expecting from MERP?

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Thanks Again. Headed to Attorneys office 2:45 to handle this document. It is in fact "Affavit of Death" and pick up original "Ladybird" document I dropped off last week. Mom was dual City/County Retiree and Sis an I are cobenificiaries to both those Death Benefits. Have already handled all paperwork concerning those with no snags. So all seems to be going pretty smooth all things considered. Will update as listing the home, Title Search and closing unfold and any snags we might encounter. There are no assets/debts other than those regarding the house.
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Oh also the AoD is usually filed if they die intestate and there is real property or assets that need to transfer via a lineal heirship process.
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Ok the Affadavit of Death needs to be filed at the courthouse IF there is going to be a transfer of real property due to death AND there is no probate being opened. That's my understanding of it. It needs to be done by a disinterested 3rd party who has no gain (so you & Sissy can't do it but your attorney can file). Since you all have a LBD, you all should be totally bypassing probate and any judges orders coming out of probate, so the AOD satisfies the requirement to prove death. Comprende?

The AoD should be a set printed document with standard stuff in in. I think each county can do their own little version in TX.

You should make sure that mom has absolutely no assets that would require probate to be opened. The house should be covered by the LBD. The usual clusterF for an asset is when they have an old, old life insurance policy that names themselves (as their estate) as the beneficiary, so even though a trust & a LBD & whatever else was done to bypass probate, the old insurance surfaces so probate has to be done. Life insurance with their estate as beneficiary was a trend in the 1970's- my dad had one.
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This isnt an update but mentioned at attorneys office. I took attorney original Ladybird document, and Moms death certificate. He said okay we have everything. He said we will get documents typed up, you will come in and sign Affadavit of Death then we will file everything at court house. I asked couple questions about MERP. He said hes not expecting any problems with them but if that comes up the will handle getting them to release claim should they pursue that. Dont ask me why but this morning my brain put forth the question "why do I need to sign an affadavit of Death"? I am assuming its a legal issue due to the fact a Will wont be probated. But now just wondering if affadavit serves some other purpose. Fixing to research it. I did call my sister and my husband to let them both know this just clicked in my brain this morning and I dont know why its needed and if it will cause any problems, delays,etc. Contacted them simply because they both have a stake in this mess and LEGALLY this is not my responsibility to make indepedant decisions on since my POA expired with Moms death. If anyone knows and can explain Affadavit of Death I will add that to my research. Of course I will ask for it to be explained to me before I sign it. But I need to completely understand it before I sign it.
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Interesting, I too just learned firsthand about the Vacant dwelling policy. My parents home is for sale (finally!!!) and now the homeowner's insurance says they will give it 60 days to sell....after that, I have to find new insurance. What?! I had never heard of such a way of doing things! So I asked them, could I move in there temporarily and then continue the policy? Well, no, it doesn't work that way, because then I would need....(drumroll)....Rental Unit insurance. Honestly.
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Calls made back and forth to agent. Meeting her there at 1pm. She's gonna rewrite policy take pics etc and I sign. Anyway...thanks so much for the heads up. She mulled over a couple different ways to write policy and landed on one that if house burned funds wouldnt create an estate situation keep her legal, me legal,etc. As far as me or my sister using house as primary residence...house is being organized by a estate sale lady for a sale in December. I had to rekey house and outbuildings in August. Sister is a hot mess and I dont mean that in a good way! Bearing no financial responsibility or the grunt work she would take her friends over there and enjoy drinking (drug?) parties. She was in and out all the time jacking with thermostat, removing tools and selling them for drugs. It became a liabilty issue on top of the fact she was enjoying a nice house and beautiful yard and deck thanks to me and a 20yr old John Deere mower. Anyway attorney knew her story Mother told him years ago. I called him and he said "change the damn locks". That started WWIII. She didnt talk to me for a few weeks until she wanted the washer and dryer. Gave it to her and things have been civil since. Another concern was her husband would throw her out and she would squat there. Uggghhh. Know my POA invalid now that Moms passed so I am just coasting. She says she trusts me 100%. And she should I have handled illnesses and deaths of Dad, Stepdad, and Grandmother in less than 5yrs. Now Mom while she has been in bed with covers pulled over her head hungover, dope sick, depressed, whatever. Sorry to go off on a rant but the house will be her primary residence over my dead body regarless of her circumstance. I live about 30 mins out of town and plan to stay where I am. All she wants is her money and knows we have to get thru sale, get clear of MERP then sale the house and she cant wrap her fried brain on how to get that all done so she is kinda at my mercy in that regard. Thats really the reason I want to be done with all this so I can be done with Sister. Sorry for rant but maybe it will keep me from running and screaming into the night. Just kidding. Uggghhh
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Lizzy, It should actually be less premium if you are living there and the policy is in your name. Call the agent.
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OMG...got a sympathy card from Insur agent but never thought about coverage etc. Agent knew circumstances concerning house and I was paying premium. Recently bumped up liability because sis and I were going to have a sale . We thought it would be easier before Mom passed. Well...Mom beat us to the punch. Agent was carrying home as a second home type thing. Someone needed to spend time there couple times a month. Told her I was there couple days a week doing yard work. She said that would work. Need to reread your post. I saw VPD. I know that doesnt stand for Victoria Police Dept. Please explain. I attempted to reply to the couple of folks who sent private messages. Very new to this site. Let me know if you didnt get my replies. Need to call Insur Agent NOW!
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Lizzy - you mentioned paying insurance on your moms house.....is this a Vacant Dwelling Policy (basically a fire policy) or moms old homeowners policy? Now that your moms dead, the homeowners policy becomes invalid. Insurance co can carry it to the end of the current policy period if the policy is already paid in full but do not have to.

VDP usually will be issued by a independent insurance agent. The guy I used actually had to take photos of property to get it placed. Also I had no lapse of policy from moms old State Farm homeowners to the VDP. The Allstates, USAA, State Farms don't do VDPs. Based on quotes I got on my moms house, all start @ 100k coverage so property needs to be of at least that value (or close to it) to get one written & will run 1K/2K for 6mos/1yr for minimal fire coverage. The independent agent asked for most current tax assessor statement to verify. Most VDP are written for under construction properties or for 2nd/3rd homes, so a low value home in a more marginal area may not be able to get a carrier as easy as a 300k house. Comprende? If people will be going through the house (like its on the market or workers doing construction or repairs), you'll need to make sure there is a rider attached to cover that.

Really you need to make sure that you have a valid house policy in force. I don't know how much $ (or $$$$) you & hubs have fronted on the house but you don't want to see it all go up in flames with no insurance.

Also has your atty mentioned putting the property in the name of a trust or an LLC? Rather than in the name of you & your Sister?

Even when you get the LBD done & property transferred to you (& sisters) name, you probably will need a VDP unless one of you is going to be able to legally make it your primary residence. Yeah, I know, even after death you still need to keep that checkbook open........
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Just read the STARGAZER article. Actually I think I have read it before or something very similar. Have read everything available when waves of doubt wash over me concerning this Ladybird Loophole during the last 3 years. When I refer to selling the house ASAP there is no pressing need. I wanted to sell it and use funds for Moms care from the beginning. Attorney said financially that wasnt the right decision. Hubby thought as long as we could recoup money we put into home by our own claim if things went wrong it was a wise gamble. My sister was all for it simply because she had nothing to loose. Sister not able to help financially and quickly flaked with the yard work,etc. Home quickly became MY work and worry. Home is just a 5yr headache that I want to go away . Spoke briefly to Real Estate Agent friend that will handle the sale when it eventually happens and knows all the details after my meeting with attorney. Real Estate Agent suggested after we think all things settled with MERP to "OPEN UP THE TITLE" I think he meant or I understood have a title search done before we list home. I did print a form a couple months ago from I think the DADS website. It is a "Authorization and MERP Certification". Someone told me I might need it.
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Lizzy - The Stargazer article addresses the concerns about future sale & lingering clouds as applies to TX btw.

Also try to google TAC MERP rules. Texas Administrative Code. Theres about 8 different ones regarding MERP. There should be a citation or a link as to the document that DHHS provides (can do by fax) for the Class 7 claim release that you enter for probate to get property released. Now your not doing probate since you have a LBD, but I'd bet you want this form or one similar (for nonprobate situation) entered at courthouse onto parcel paperwork chain so no clouds in the future. Personally I would hold off from putting house on market till you have the release filed at courthouse. Why you ask...well for Tx BOR listing MLS agreement there is going to be a several page section regarding what your knowledge is on the property & other details on property that you signature off on and by date. As you know there exists MERP since mom was on medicaid (even with the LBD), you kinda have to disclose this. But if the release is gotten & filed, you instead can disclose this. Since your goal is to sell the house ASAP, you don't want any issue at closing, as everbody is going to be very, very unhappy if that happens.

If you were the point person on file for mom (like you were sent TxDHHS Medicaid ltc renewal notice paperwork), you should get the initial letter of intent from HMS within 2 mos mailed to you at whatever address TXDHHS had on file for you. Tx D of Vital statistics is linked to TXDHHS which in turn contacts HMS.
Will be white envelope legal size. You could get 2 sets (but addressed somewhat differently). Be sure and look at postmark date & date of letter.....
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Thanks for additional quiet title info. House has been vacant for over 3 yrs. Hubby and I have paid home equity loan,taxes and insurance. I have copies and I have copies of those copies. I have all cancelled checks. Its been a long 5 years since my stepdad died and sis and I trying to keep my Mom taken care of. I have seen it stated on this site before so I wont hesitate to say it "I want my life back". So yes legal has to be in order and we need to get this house sold as soon as its legally possible.
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I would get legal advice, because once I read about some state said that the heirs are supposed to notify THEM about the death and give them notice. I thought that was odd, but it puts the burden on the estate of the deceased or the heirs and not Medicaid. I can't recall the details, but I would certainly ensure that I was protected legally.
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Was in touch with attorney about Ladybird Trust this morning. Dropping off the Trust document and Death Certificate later this morning. They will draw up paperwork and I will have to sign an Affadavit of Death and it will be signed and notarized in their office. They will file the paperwok at the courthouse. I voiced my anxiety concerning the dreaded MERP, the letter I have been expecting from MERP, etc. Attorney said sometimes letter is sent to person on Medicaid files as contact(that would be me) and sometimes no letter is sent. He said if I do get something bring it in and they supply documents,info,etc to get case closed. So...thats where I am this morning. But...because I am the way I am...as hubby says I always look for trouble...I will get to the courthouse today or tomorrow and see if MERP has put a claim towards the house and probably check once a week til we get the house sold whenever that happens. It was mentioned about the title being clouded or dirty when a title search is done if MERP does something I dont know about. Havent read suggested article yet. Curious as to whether after closing when we sell if MERP can put a claim on house after closing involving new owners. I always like to be prepared for problems.
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Lizzy - there likely won't be a claim or lein placed that shows up at courthouse, so that will likely be a wash out. But you can go online for to larger counties to take a look through. It will come up when the title search is being done however. Title companies are now doing a wider search or requiring a sign off on indemnity if the owner is 55 or over due to the possibility of Medicaid related claims. The stargazer article refers to this.

Clouds on title are a real butt rash to deal with as it kills or stalls a sale. If your buyer is needing a mortgage, they will not be able to get it as the underwriter won't do the paper on a property with clouds. Even if your not thinking about selling it, you want any clouds gone as it could be an issue if you ever want to do a HELOC or other equity lending on the property. Now if push comes to shove, you can get a quiet title action done to remove the clouds. I haven't done a "quiet title" in TX but have in other states & it's about a 3 -10 month process due to the published notifications required. IMHO you need legal who have experience in "quiet" & will usually be a real estate atty who specializes in development or site selection legal work. Most buyers aren't going to have the patience to wait for clouds to be resolved. Really get your legal to get the MERP release.

If you or others have been paying costs on the house & it has been empty, do not throw way any receipts cancelled checks, etc. hopefully your LBD gets around all issues & you get the MERP release but to be on the safe side keep all receipts. TAC allows for all required & reasonable costs on the property to be deducted from the MERP claim or payoff that HMS states is due. HMS is the outside contractor for TX as well as another dz ++ states as well.

Also if the tax assessor value isn't accurate (& you should have just gotten the bill for 2016 TX taxes in the past couple of weeks) and it is too high, I'd suggest you get the house appraised & right now when it is a close to its value related to moms death. It gives you definite & legal value on the property as it stands right now. It could be quite valuable to establish if any gifting /tax / merp / family infighting issues later on. The comps value & listing book that your Realtor does is NOT the same as an appraiser report. Appraisals seem to have a base rate of $250 and then go up depending on sq footage on entire property. Often an house inspection is done first ( by a licensed inspector) & this report given to the appraiser to enable a more complete report.

Good luck & let us know what happens!
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Thanks for the input. It is my understanding that in Tx MERP is contracted out and if a will is probated they are very aggressive. When I spoke wirh a Real Estate Agent friend a couple months ago he verified that fact. He said locally the Ladybird Trusts are working but if folks dont have the Ladybird and probate liens are placed on the homes, etc. Absolutely not making a move until I get in touch with Moms attorney that drew this document up. Tried Friday but no luck. Will be back on phone at 9AM in the morning trying to get an appt. If he hasnt dealt with MERP I will find someone that has. It would just have been too simple if there are no issues. I may run by City Hall and check for claims or Liens as suggested. I will post updates as the occur. Thanks Again.
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Depends on your state rules. NY is already reaching past probate and into the Life Estates and Trusts. What you can do is check for a lien on the property at county hall. Too many people don't check for that until closing the sale, when suddenly all things grind to a halt.
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How MERP is done is like all things Medicaid, in that its very inter-dependent on how your states laws are done as to property law, probate, etc. Then add in if your state is doing MERP in-house or is using an outside contractor. And keep in mind that MERP does not know whether mom died with a will, or intestate, or with a LBD necessarily.

There have been posts on this site where family has gotten the initial "Letter of Intent" (to file a claim or a lien) between 3 mos to 2 1/2 years. The 2 1/2 years seem to be from states which are changing over from doing MERP inhouse (by state workers) to an outside contractor so they are doing a backlog of cases. There does not seem to be time limitation for the state to do this. The contractors seem to approach the process as debt collection agencies as they get a % of the recovery plus fees.

You may find that the LBD is not going to be entirely without issues. Yeah I know by doing a LBD you should supposedly bypass the need for probate & that is one reason to go that route so in theory....... no probate=no MERP. But LBD could be challenged OR the claim or lein placed by default (by applying for and being on Medicaid). I'd suggest fir you to speak with your atty as to what approach MERP is doing for your state and how aggressive the outside contractor is. I'd also suggest you very clearly ask your legal if they have dealt with MERP, not just doing the paperwork for the LBD. Also There is the possibility that the property may have a claim or a lein placed upon it (even with the LBD) that will create a cloud on the title. It may not be an issue to do the initial transfer (like from mom to you) via however the LBD reads because you aren't needing funding to do the transfer but there very well could be an issue with the title when the property goes to be sold later on and that buyer needs to buy via a mortgage so has to get title insurance...which means a title search on the property. And Voila! MERP's cosmic claim or lein is lurking about placing a cloud on the title.

Here's my suggestion - your state should have a specific document that is a legally binding release of MERPs claim or lein. I'd get your attorney to get this from whomever issues this (could be MERP or could be Dept of HHS) and it needs to be filed at the courthouse so will come up on the chain of legal attached to the parcel so no future clouds. Comprende?

The cloud on the title issue is something not to be ignore IMHO. There is a really good article on this & how it impacts title from a couple of years ago on StarGazer. If you Google "stargazer MERP Texas" you can find it. Stargazer is a professional interest publication for title companies.

Good luck in this and if you would, can you post an update as to what's what. Thanks as we all learn from each other
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I don't know about the questionnaire but I have found that dealing with death, everyone takes their own sweet time. It took months for mom to get dads retirement. Good for you for getting the Ladybird deed and using an elder care attorney though. Good luck!
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