Minnesota Probates & Medical Assistance

by Flanders Law Firm LLC on November 17, 2014

Minnesota Probate Lawyers

In every new Minnesota probate administration consult I do, I ask clients whether their loved one received or has applied for medical assistance.

Why?  Because medical assistance issues often come up in a probate or estate administrations. When people receive state-funded money for payment of hospice care, hospital stays, and long-term care, etc., during their life, the state wants to be paid back when they die.  As many people know, medical bills can be very high at the end of one’s life.

Medical assistance and probate in Minnesota

In essence, when a person applies for medical assistance, the information they  receive will state that Minnesota has a claim against all of the person’s property for repayment of medical assistance. Property includes the recipients home, bank accounts, retirement accounts, cars, and any other assets. Normally, in a Minnesota probate administration, there are certain things, such as a homestead, which are exempt from all credit or claims. However, this exemption does not play apply to medical assistance claims.

Many of the people that the probate lawyers at the firm speak with state that they thought the home was exempt from creditor claims such as medical assistance. This is not the case. The medical assistance laws tells us that the state of Minnesota has a five-year-look-back-period for all assets owned by the applicant.  This means that any asset, however large or small, and however strange, is subject to a look back for repayment by state Minnesota.

For instance, in an odd situation that I recently dealt with, the surviving spouse of a deceased husband was supposed to receive mineral rights from oil wells. The surviving spouse was older and had applied for medical assistance and her last illness.  As discussed above, this automatically subjected her estate to a claim for repayment of medical assistance bills. This created a hardship for the heirs of the surviving spouse; however, I was forced to advise that the oil interest rights were subject to medical assistance repayment.

What are some things to do about the medical assistance issue?

Estate planning.  I often counsel client on putting their assets into trust or doing other estate planning prior to applying for medical assistance. The problem is often is that people do not do estate planning or do not think about transferring assets prior to their loved one getting sick. Again, is very difficult to draft a trust and transfer interest to the trust due to the five-year look-back period and medical assistance.  Obviously, it is very important to do estate planning.

However ,what if no estate planning has been done?

If no estate planning has been done, a medical assistance analysis needs to be done.  Joseph M. Flanders has experience working with various counties and medical assistance departments when probating an estate. There is a complicated payment process for all claims in an estate. You have questions about what needs to be paid when and how and why this paid first, a Minnesota probate attorney should be consulted.

At the end of the day it is important to realize that medical assistance is a real issue which needs to be thought about. Ignoring the issue is not the answer.

Minnesota probate lawyers

Flanders Law Firm LLC has experienced Eagan, Minnesota probate attorneys. For further information about medical assistance in Minnesota probate claims, contact the law firm at 612-424-0398.

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