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Can Medicaid Recover Assets Transferred Before the Medicaid Recipient's Death?
Husband was placed in a nursing home and received Medicaid benefits five years ago. When he went into the nursing home, the husband and wife jointly owned a home. Two years ago, while the husband was still alive, they deeded the house into the wife's name only. The husband died six months ago in the nursing home. The wife now wants to sell the house because she is 89, in poor health, and can no longer maintain it. She has no assets other than the house equity. When she sells the house, will Medicaid recoup half of the sales price? She is very concerned about having enough money to live on.
Medicaid has the right to recover against the recipient's estate, but not against the spouse's, and there is no Medicaid restriction on transfers between spouses. Since the house was transferred during the nursing home resident’s life it was in neither his probate nor non-probate estate and not subject to estate recovery.
That said, there could be local exceptions that we're not aware of, so it would be best to consult an elder law attorney in the state in question to be absolutely sure. Here is a directory of attorneys: http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elder-law-attorneys.
For more information about estate recovery, click here.