Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Tennessee

Q: Tenncare claim of estate

I got a letter today from Medicare for signing to see if she owned on any bills since she was in nursing home since 2020 and a copy of death certificate. I have profound hearing loss was on a disability check until I got married in 2020. My dad and her signed property over to me in 2016. Only thing she has in her name is two vehicles ( probably don’t run now) I have no way to pay them. Any advice??

1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: It is very uncommon for any living individual to be personally liable for the debts of a deceased person. However, the creditors of a decedent may make claims against the decedent’s estate.

It is extremely uncommon, also, for a decedent to owe money to Medicare. More likely, Medicare owes money to the decedent for unprocessed, unpaid Medicare insurance claims. The decedent might, however, owe money to healthcare providers on account of deductibles and co-pays. Those claims may be made against the decedent’s assets by the healthcare providers.

If the decedent was also receiving benefits from Medicaid, then Medicaid most likely does have a claim against the decedent’s assets for reimbursement. However, there are several exceptions. It is impossible to know whether an exception applies in this case, because you did not specify your relationship to the decedent. And the relationship does matter. Moreover, there are other facts that would need to be ascertained. You should consult with an elder law attorney for personalized advice on this.

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