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Medi-Cal could come after someone’s estate when they die

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Estate Planning |

People who are 65 or over, blind or disabled, and some others who require skilled nursing care can’t always rely on their families to provide all of the care that they need. Their spouses may also need support, and their children could live hours away or have many demands on their time.

In many cases, vulnerable older adults must rely on professional services to ensure their safety and well-being as they age. Paying for that assistance can be quite challenging, as costs can be thousands of dollars each month. Even more concerning for many is how rooms in nursing homes and in-home support from nursing professionals are typically not eligible for Medicare coverage.

People have to apply for Medi-Cal benefits, which is the California Medicaid program. Medi-Cal can cover some expenses that Medicare does not. Unfortunately, the benefits someone receives could negatively affect their estate after they die.

The state may require repayment from an estate

The Medi-Cal Long Term Care benefit is a need-based program to help low-income people pay for skilled nursing medical care. It is available to those who can demonstrate financial need based on income. The state looks at someone’s income before approving them for coverage. Resources, like the home where someone lives, do not prevent them from qualifying for benefits since January 1, 2024.

However, those assets could be at risk after someone dies. Through the estate recovery program, the state can seek reimbursement by filing a claim in probate court after someone who was a recipient of the Long-Term Care coverage dies. Medi-Cal recovery efforts could lead to the forced sale of estate resources and substantially reduce the assets that would be distributed to the heirs of the older adult who received those benefits.

Proper advance planning can prevent someone’s legacy from estate recovery efforts after they die. Getting experienced legal guidance on Medi-Cal and Long-Term Care coverage can improve the chances of benefit approval and reduce the risk of recovery efforts.