How often do we put off taking care of something that we know we should do? Would, coulda, shoulda! That’s a sad conclusion!
There can come a time that a person no longer has the options he had at an earlier time. In some circumstances, statutes of limitations will cut off the ability to pursue a remedy. Or death could be the thing that cuts off the options.
One example has to do with estate recovery liens and Medicaid. These liens are imposed by the State of New Jersey against what’s called the “expanded estate” of a deceased Medicaid recipient. Under federal law, State Medicaid programs “shall” establish estate recovery programs as a way to recoup certain assets to replenish the program. In New Jersey, the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (DMAHS) administers the estate recovery unit.10-08_Recoveries_From_Estates_Of_Deceased_Medicaid_Clients_and_Former_Medicaid_Clients
When a person receives MLTSS Medicaid benefits to pay for nursing care, his assets have to be below certain limits (typically $2,000). There are times that an asset is disregarded in determining whether the person’s resources are low enough to qualify for benefits. The person might own a house which is stuck on the market. The individual might be legally entitled to receive an inheritance, but if the other estate is mired in problems of its own, the potential inheritance could be inaccessible. There could be an asset which can’t be liquidated due to some issue or other. Or the individual might own a house in which an adult child is residing, so the house might be disregarded as a resource while that child lived there.
Everything changes, though, once that Medicaid recipient dies.
The “estate” to be recovered against is “expanded” to include not only the solely-owned assets as defined in N.J.S.A. 3B:1-1, but also, “any other real and personal property and other assets in which the Medicaid beneficiary had any legal title or interest at the time of death, to the extent of that interest…” This might include a half interest in a house that was jointly owned with a sibling or child, for example.
Readers of this Blog know that there are certain transfers of assets that can be made without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility. However, if no action is taken and the Medicaid recipient still owns the assets at death, there is the risk that the property will be subject to be an estate recovery lien. Woulda coulda shoulda taken steps to avoid estate recovery.
For advice on asset preservation and Medicaid eligibility, call us at … 732-382-6070