Q: Mother passed with will while in nursing home paid for via Medicaid. I am only living child and only heir in will.
Her only asset is land in south Georgia worth approximately $65,000 which I would like to keep. Will I be required to sell land to satisfy Medicaid Estate Recovery? If so, can I buy the land or negotiate with Medicaid to pay a portion of the total they paid out (she was in nursing home for over 5 years so the amount they paid in total is far beyond the worth of the property)? What is the best way to ultimately keep the land at the lowest cost to me? I read online that a new law was recently passed exempting the first $25,000 from estate recovery. Is that in place yet? Thanks.
Here is a link to a brochure available from the Georgia Department of Community Health: https://dch.georgia.gov/sites/dch.georgia.gov/files/Web%20Version%202014.pdf. The brochure states: "The total gross value of the estate must be valued over $25,000 for estate recovery to apply. An estate includes all real and personal property (homes, land, vehicles, cash, bank accounts) held individually or jointly. All assets of a deceased Medicaid member are subject to recovery including property held with a life estate interest. The value of the life estate is calculated by using the Life/Remainder Interest table published by the IRS for the month of the decedent’s death." I believe this is the $25,000 amount to which you referred. If the land is worth $65,000, the total gross value of the estate would be valued over $25,000. Note that the brochure states:
"The Medicaid program will waive or delay recovery if an undue hardship exists. The two conditions for an undue hardship are:
• The asset to be recovered is an income-producing farm
and the sole income of one or more of the heirs, and the
annual gross income is limited to $25,000 or less;
• Recovery of assets would result in the applicant
becoming eligible for governmental assistance based on
need and/or medical assistance programs.
If the heir feels he/she could be considered for an undue hardship waiver, a request may be made within 30 days of
receiving Medicaid’s notice against the estate, or upon the sale, transfer, or conveyance of the real property subject to a TEFRA lien. The Estate Recovery Unit will provide detailed instructions in the Medicaid notice on how to file for an undue hardship waiver."
I do not specialize in Medicaid law and this response is not intended to provide you legal advice. I strongly urge you to consult with a Georgia attorney who specializes in Medicaid law.
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