Found out medicaid retained lawyer is not going to help with app. Got this letter with returned retainer. Explains why were served suit for debt, probably attorney told nursing home no longer doing Medicaid app is my guess.

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Barb, thanks for AuntSallys link from Oct. I had same issue as JoAnn...

here’s what’s what from those (Oct posts):
- MIL is 84/85 with Parkinson’s; has paid off home w/“Living Estate”. Just what “Living Estate” is unknown... like is it actually a Life Estate?
- hubs, who is himself disabled, wanted them to leave their rental & move into moms home. Vibe imo was live in moms home rent free.
- hubs hired an atty to file his mom LTC Medicaid application
- AuntSally is pretty stressed out then as finishing up college work; move to mil place would mean 15 MILES for her to travel for work; her son dealing with moving into his own place & getting settled, they are close; she had a minibreakdown early ‘19.
The hubs comes across as I make decisions you just agree type imo.

its now 6 months since Oct post. MIL is in a NH. There’s 6 mos. of NH billing that hasn’t gotten paid & a lawsuit has been filed on the debt. Medicaid atty her hubs hired in Oct has returned the retainer.

We can assume MIL LTC Medicaid application denied.
The “why” denied or ineligible is super important as will show whether or not reasons are things that can be resolved somewhat reasonably.

please look at Garden Artists detailed lists, you need to think about the answers for these. It’s important & gives you structure to deal with this.

Also what exactly is the wording in the letter that you & hubs received from the atty hired to do your MILs Medicaid application? It’s pretty unusual for an atty to return $ paid for representation, esp after 6 mos in. So what is in atty letter with the check in it? Is it return of retainer or resignation of representation or both? Letter reads only to just hubs or hubs and you?
there has been correspondence between the atty & Medicaid for MILs application AND there has been correspondence btw the atty & your hubs as to documents need by Medicaid. If application was started in Oct, there is a stack of paperwork starting back then. State has a timeline system for documents that just must be done. Hubs has had to submitted documents to atty / Medicaid to have application move along the state system. Do you have these? If not, you have to find them. There are there somewhere. What problems or deficiencies were brought up in correspondence? Go thru the letters......
Do any of the letters mention “gifting” or asset transfer?
Are any asking for financials from 2014-2017?
Do any mention the “ Living Estate” as a problem? Like when legal was done (inside 5 yr)?; or that “Living Estate” was not legit legal?
Do any mention your living at MILs home as a concern? I’m assuming that hubs & you went thru with the plan to leave your old rental and have moved into his moms place rent-free since your Oct posts.

Have you or hubs deposited the check from the atty?
I’m assuming that this was a check from atty, so it’s the law firms checking account and not the check hubs gave him back in Oct. 2019. Is that right? How was check written out to?.... like hubs name and your name or was it “and/or” both your names or just in hubs name?

is there the plausibility that your mil gave hubs money or a car or anything in her name anytime from 2014 to 2019?
did mil close out bank accounts or safe deposit box from ‘14 - ‘19?
the “Living Estate” how was this done? Did hubs DIY this? Or if it was done by a law firm, was this the same law firm that has now returned the $ to do the Medicaid application? Or another law firm?

the Q&As go beyond the debt collection issue. If mil is still in the NH, and her bill is unpaid, she’s going to get a 30 day Notice to have to leave the facility. I’m surprised that hasn’t happened. Maybe it’s been issued but on a stay due to Covid-19? Has there been any mention on a 30 Day? please try to find out if this is brewing for MIL.
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Aunt Sally, some more questions, after reading your first post and the responses here.

1.   Who exactly is being sued?  Your husband, you, your MIL?   Don't mention names, just indicate relationships.  

2.   If MIL entered nursing home since your last post, the suit would be for only a few months, right?    I'm assuming that your husband hasn't made any payments to the home for care?

3.   Who signed the admission papers?  This is critical.   

4.    Has your husband contacted the NH to try to work something out?
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AuntSally,  some legal questions:

1.    When were you served?   The Summons should indicate a date by which a response must be filed.     Otherwise, ex parte (w/o your appearance or response) action could be taken against you.

What you can do is file an appearance on behalf of yourselves, and in writing (or e-mail with receipt acknowledgment), contact the plaintiff's attorney and ask for an extension.    Extensions were routinely granted among attorneys, but collections lawyers can be a nasty breed and refuse to grant an extension.

2.   Contact your local and state bar association and ask for referral to the category of attorneys who defend collection lawsuits.    You could also contact your local Senior Center and ask if they have free attorney counseling weekly; then ask that attorney for recommendations.

3.   The debt collection field is one in which attorneys specialize in those issues and often don't practice any other type of law.    I learned once when temping that fancy names are used to disguise the type of law they practice...something like "Credit" and an adjective disguising the fact that they were debt collectors.   But it's so long ago and it was a horrible experience to work for those firms so I deliberately tried to forget.

This can help you save time by checking your local area and determining which are plaintiff's vs. defendant's (i.e., you) attorneys, so you don't call the first category and just get a not interested response.

You could even be bold and ask local firms if they represent defendants as well!

4.   One possibility is a bankruptcy firm.    I only have experience with Ch. 11 arrangements, so I don't know much about individual bankruptcies.   But I think they would be the closest to represent a defendant in a debt collection suit.

5.   Another possibility, IF the local court is still open is to try to review the online cases after learning what the codes are, find debt collection attorneys, review (again online) the responses and see what firms represent the defendants. 

Cases are coded by type; I don't know what a bankruptcy code would be.  E.g., a Civil Action used to be something like CA- xxx-xxx-20 (for 2020).    A court clerk could tell you though.

6.   Another issue is that some courts are postponing cases b/c of the pandemic.   Whether or not any hearing would be scheduled or pleadings still need to be filed to meet deadlines is questionable, but should be verified if you can get through to the clerk of the court in which the suit is filed.

Good luck to you; this is certainly a tough time to have to address these kinds of legal issues.
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I am getting a "Whoops, error" when I click on "auntsally". This may mean she left the forum.
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BarbBrooklyn Apr 2020
I'm not, JoAnn. Try again.
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A lot of questions on this.......
I’m guessing there’s actually 2 different problems happening... that the elder has had their LTC medicaid application denied / ineligible AND due to this there is a significant bill owed to the NH. Is this the situation?

If so, for the Medicaid ineligiblity, what are reason(s) why?
& why landed in your lap, like your DPOA, son/daugt., niece, friend?

For debt collectors, what type are they?
- like law firm that represents NH so law firm for the original creditor (“OC”). If so, is NH part of a large chain (like Brookstone or Life Care)?
- is this a debt collector who actually is a secondary collector & so has bought the debt from the OC? So this is more likely long existing debt for perhaps months of nonpayment due to issues with the elders ineligiblity for Medicaid. There’s prior collection efforts by NH or initial law firm that went unpaid, nonresponsive. So debt was sold.
So exactly which type is it?

Who is actually named in the debt collection letter?
The elder but c/o to you, or to you by your name, or someone else?
Is the person named in the collection letter actually responsible for the debt? Like if debt addressed to you, did you personally sign off to be financially responsible for the NH resident in the admissions paperwork done when she entered the NH?
Often the secondary debt collectors cast a wide net to all names & addresses on file for the NH resident to find someone, anyone, to pay a bill or agree to accept the debt as their responsibility. Secondary collectors are pretty relentlessly brutal and will send letters or do phone calls to family or friends who are not at all responsible to pay. Letter usually will have a “if you do not challenge/ reply to this within 30 days, debt is assumed valid” statement. Is this in your letter?
Review your copy of all the admissions paperwork to see who exactly is responsible party. Are you responsible?? You do have a copy, right?

On the letter from attorney who returned the check (the retainer), what exactly did the letter accompanying the ck say exactly?
Was it a return of retainer??? or resignation of appointment???
Which is it?
Helpful Answer (1)

Did the lawyer give a reason for not continuing with the application?

Is there an issue of whether or not she is eligible for Medicaid?

Has your husband spoken to the business office at the NH? Can't he simply hire another lawyer to continue the Medicaid app?
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