Avoid Probate To Avoid Medi-Cal Recovery

When a Medi-Cal recipient dies, the state will attempt to recover from the recipient’s estate, what the state paid for that person’s care during his or her lifetime. Before January 1, 2017, the term “estate” referred to any assets in the recipient’s name at the time of death. As of January 1, 2017, as the result of SB 833, which was signed into law by Governor Brown on June 27, 2016, the state has taken the definition of “estate” to mean a probate estate. A probate estate is an estate that is being processed through a court action in probate court. If you do not have an estate that is subject to probate when you die, there can be no state recovery. A revocable living trust will avoid probate. For instance, if you transfer your home to your revocable living trust and then you die, your home will be transferred to your named beneficiaries of the trust, without the need of a probate court action. If you do not transfer title of your home to your trust, and your name alone is on the deed, a probate of your home will be required when you die. The state could then recover against your home. If you hold title to your home in joint tenancy and then you die, title to your home will vest in the surviving joint tenant without a probate court action, and there will be no state recovery. However, on the death of the surviving joint tenant, a probate court proceeding will be required if the surviving person did not put title in a trust, or did not add another joint tenant to the deed. So the easiest way to avoid Medi-Cal recovery, is to avoid probate.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law and probate attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com, we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney and probates. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.


Medi-Cal Qualification

This is a brief list of exempt assets for Medi-Cal qualification. Your home is generally exempt, and you can take steps to protect your home from a Medi-Cal lien after your death. Your household goods and personal belongs are exempt. You can have an exemption for one car. Term life insurance policies are excluded, but you cannot have more than a total of $1500 cash value in the policies.  You can keep your IRAs and other “qualified accounts.” You can only have $2,000 of non qualified assets. 

This is a brief synopsis of exempt assets, and of course planning and applying for  Medi-Cal is much more complicated than is presented here. In addition, if you are a wartime veteran or the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran, you should consider planning and possibly applying for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. Planning for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit should be coordinated with your planning for Medi-Cal benefits. Your elder law attorney, who is also certified by the VA, can help you with planning for both benefits. 

This blog is written by Michael J. Young, Elder Law Attorney, for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law, government benefits and asset protection attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

For additional information you can go to Mr. Young’s website at  www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com . You can send an e-mail to Mr. Young at mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. His address is 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Phone: (925) 256-0298. Mr. Young has clients in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Antioch, Bay Point, Alamo, Danville, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is a member of NAELA.

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