Grand Prairie, TX asked in Estate Planning for Texas

Q: The property is in his name. My brother lives alone and he is the veteran with angiosarcoma cancer. He has no medical in

Insurance. Will the VA collect his property if he dies? Is there a way to prevent this from happening?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Terry Lynn Garrett
Terry Lynn Garrett
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Austin, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: The VA does not recover property to compensate itself for benefits paid. Medicaid does, if there is no "Lady Bird" or Transfer on Death Deed, but there are several exceptions. Consult a local elder law attorney.

Ross F. Tew
Ross F. Tew
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Arlington, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It sounds like you are describing a MERP claim, which can result from Medicaid benefits received, not from VA benefits. In Texas the Department of Aging and Disability Services contracts with HMS who administers the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP). There are Hardship Waivers you can apply for if a notice of a MERP claim is received following your brother's passing. The VA does not attempt to reimburse itself for benefits paid in the same way Medicaid does. If your brother is not receiving Medicaid benefits, then his heirs should not have to worry about estate recovery. Has correspondence been received that indicates his property is subject to a claim for benefits paid? He should speak with a local estate planning and elder law attorney to make sure his bases are covered, but based on your description it doesn't sound as though his home would be in jeopardy. There are fairly simple ways to ensure his home wouldn't be subject to a MERP claim or probate, specifically the enhanced life estate deed and transfer on death deed mentioned by Ms. Garrett.

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