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It's taken me more than a year to figure out how to claim assets of a small estate for my brother who passed away last year. Once I am able to claim it and pass it to the heirs, will the state of California, where he lived, be able to make claim to it at some point in the future, if Medicaid and Medicare provided for much of his care up until he passed at the age of 59? What is the statute of limitations in this case?

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Another thought, if bro died over a year ago..... Have you or another family member gotten a NOI (notice of intent) regarding recovery? If you haven't, it could be that he was already flagged for an early age exclusion. Most states now do the NOI within 2 -4 mos from DoD. Those states that have a outside contractor really seem now get on the MERP process well within 6 mos of death.
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I'd first look at the exemptions & exclusions to merp / estate recovery to see if your brother or his heirs qualify for one of those first & foremost.

For those who go onto Medicaid younger like at 55 or younger, estate recovery isn't even done seems to be the case for all states. I'd look at that exclusion possibility first.
Your late bro died at 59? Do maybe he went onto Medicaid over 5 years ago.... So his estate gets the exclusion. Lots who have kidney / dialysis or Lou Gerhrigs are younger when entering into & on LTC medicaid and went onto it before 55 and get the exemption.

If so, margaritas for all! If not, then look at if you or any of the heirs can meet any other exemptions or exclusions. Look at his will to see who heirs are & at what %. Say it's you & a sister, so 50/50 of 18k estate. Sissy is disabled so meets an exemption. So that takes estate down to 9k. You have no exemptions. Now Recovery has a required cost-benefit in order to be done and the bar is a recoverable estate over 10k. At 9k it's below amount, so again margaritas all around.

I'd really look hard at the exemptions & exclusions to see what may be an option to do. And get the documentation needed for it. Look into these first.

If nothing seems to fit, post an update & what you mean by "small", ok!
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