Protect Yourself From The Medi-Cal Recovery Lien
The State of California has a process for recovering the cost of providing services for people receiving Medi-Cal long-term care benefits. Medi-Cal is a combined federal and California state program designed to help pay for medical care for public assistance recipients and other low-income people. The Long Term Care Benefit is available to people who pass a rigorous means test. If eligible, the personal residence and other assets of the person receiving those benefits may be subject to a lien (estate recovery lien) after their death. Certain exemptions are available, as are legal planning strategies to reduce or eliminate the effect of this lien. The requirements for implementing these planning strategies are complex and very technical and should not be attempted without the advice and counsel of knowledgeable attorneys.
After the Medi-Cal beneficiary’s death, the State can make a claim against the estate of an individual who was 55 or older at the time he or she received Medi-Cal benefits or who (at any age) received benefits in a nursing home, unless there is a surviving spouse or a minor, blind or disabled child. One way to avoid an estate claim is to leave nothing in the estate. Most Medi-Cal beneficiaries leave nothing but a home. If the property is properly transferred out of the beneficiary’s name while he or she is still alive, the State cannot place a claim. Any transfer of real property can have tax consequences that may outweigh a Medi-Cal estate claim. Several legal options (irrevocable life estates, occupancy agreements, certain types of trusts) are available to avoid probate, avoid tax consequences and avoid estate claims. Anyone considering a transfer of real property or other assets should consult an attorney experienced in the Medi-Cal rules and regulations before taking any action. Failure to do so could result in ineligibility for someone who desperately needs skilled nursing care.
Even if the Medi-Cal recipient dies before properly protecting the assets, family members may still be able to prevent recovery, in whole or in part. Contact our office to see if you qualify for a hardship exemption. Timing is absolutely critical and failure to act within statutory time frames could restrict your ability to adequately claim an exemption. If the State of California has filed a lawsuit to recover against a beneficiary or the estate of a Medi-Cal recipient, contact our office for assistance. We have successfully represented many individuals facing this situation.
The Mullin Law Firm — The East Bay Area’s Leading Name In Medi-Cal Planning
If you live in Contra Costa County, Alameda County or Solano County, California, and have an elderly parent or other loved one applying for long-term care assistance through the state Medi-Cal program, it is important to transfer interest in a house to a legal heir prior to your loved one moving into a nursing home. Schedule a consultation with an elder law attorney at the Mullin Law Firm in Concord and Walnut Creek. We have more than 35 years of experience helping families protect themselves from the financial devastation of nursing home care.
Learn More About Protecting Your Assets From Medi-Cal
We can show you additional options for preserving your assets while seeking eligibility for Medi-Cal long-term care benefits. Call us at 925-852-6014 or contact us by email to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced Concord estate recovery lien lawyers today.