Chaska, MN asked in Elder Law for Minnesota

Q: I just received a priority claim notice from county for my father claiming my mothers assets in her recent passing away.

My father was on Medicaid for several years. My mother had followed the Elder Attorney's advice on regarding one car, one house and minimum cash. Fast forward, my father had passed away almost 3 years ago and my mom just passed away less than one month ago. Mom had spent her last 3 years in a nursing home on private pay. I am her older son and personal representative. I just received a letter in the mail from the county saying that they have a last illness priority claim to my mother's assets remaining. Her only assets are cash and one car totally a little more than half of what the total Medicaid paid out fore my father is. I did the best I could on keeping records of bills I paid in my moms behalf. I came into a financial mess 3 years ago as my mom had dementia and was having a hard time keeping track of her finances. We prepaid her funeral and my concern is, are us siblings going to be required to pay back what the county may not agree with how mom ran her finances??

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joshua Damberg
Joshua Damberg
  • Elder Law Lawyer
  • Maple Grove, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: The answer to this should be pretty straightforward, despite the complexity of the applicable rules. The process you are referencing is called "Estate Recovery". The County brings forward a claim they have had for your father's receipt of Medical Assistance (Medicaid) benefits following your mother's passing. In a married couple situation, the County will not bring a claim upon the first spouse's death. This all appears to be appropriate factually.

The amount of Medical Assistance paid does have a high priority in terms of claims paid from an estate. It would be wise to work with a Probate attorney to make sure that all potential claims are handled correctly. With your mother's estate not being able to pay for the entirety of the claim, it will be considered insolvent.

You and your siblings WILL NOT be responsible for any claims against your mother's estate. Medical Assistance will not pursue a claim outside of the one that you received notice of against your mother's estate. Liability for debts of a person DO NOT flow to their children during a Probate process.

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