The Complete Guide to Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery

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Questions about Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery? Don’t worry, the expert estate attorneys at the Law Office of Paul Black can help.

Author: Paul Black (Founder – Law Office of Paul Black)

Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as  a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. 

Published on: July 6, 2019. Last updated on: August 29, 2020.

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery Basics

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery section

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It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future.

If you have questions, I’m here to help. There is no commitment and we provide free initial 15-minute phone calls. We look forward to meeting you.

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery is a system that was put in place to allow the state and its taxpayers to regain some of the cost of caring for people via the Medicaid financial assistance program after said persons have passed away. Funds are recouped from the Medicaid participant’s estate, after death, for the expense of the assistance they received. This can include housing and medical expenses, including nursing facility services and community health services, among others.

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1993 required states to create and carry out an estate recovery program. Georgia is among the last states in the USA to execute an estate recovery program.

To improve your chances of keeping any of the assets after your loved one passes, it is best if he or she engages in proper estate planning before death. Here are 10 Reasons to Create an Estate Plan Now.

Medicaid Estate Recovery in Georgia

Medicaid estate recovery in Georgia occurs for expenses sustained by Medicaid for any kind of service provided in a long-term care facility or in the home as an alternative option. 

This includes the following personal care services:

  • Home and community-based services
  • Hospital services
  • Nursing facility services
  • Personal care solutions
  • Prescription drug services

If your loved one or family member did not create a last will or their will is being handled through probate, a local attorney skilled in Georgia estate planning can help with the Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery process.

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery Exemptions

Fortunately for families, there are a few Georgia Medicaid estate recovery exemptions. Legislation authorized by former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal provides protection for the first $25,000 of an estate regardless of how much the estate is worth. 

When seniors go into a nursing home to live out their days, Medicaid looks to recoup the long-term treatment expenses after they die. In fact, Georgia Medicaid Estate recovery can pursue the entire estate, including the home, any jointly-held properties, and monies set aside in a living trust.

While the government will not attempt to take the estate if it’s worth less than $25,000, anything valued over that quantity undergoes complete recovery. When this happens, a lien may be placed on all recoverable assets.

For many families, this can be an extremely confusing and disheartening situation. Discussing the matter with an experienced attorney, like Paul Black, who can explain your irrevocable life insurance trust options may be beneficial.

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery Exemptions

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Can Medicaid Take Your House After You Die in Georgia?

Can Medicaid Take Your House After You Die in Georgia

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When learning about the estate recovery process, one of the most important concerns is whether Medicaid can take your house after you die. Although it is true that Medicaid penalizes a person for making transfers during the 60 months prior to applying for Medicaid, there are some scenarios in which it is legal to transfer a house. 

Transfers of the home to certain individuals can be made without incurring a transfer fine. They include the following:

  • A spouse
  • A child under age 21 or who is blind or disabled
  • A sibling who has a financial interest in the house
  • A “caretaker child” 

A “caretaker child” is an adult child who lived in the house for at least two years prior to the applicant’s institutionalization, as well as throughout the duration of treatment when the caretaker’s presence enabled the Medicaid applicant to avoid an assisted living facility stay.

A Georgia attorney with knowledge about Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery can advise Georgia seniors and their families.

Understanding Georgia Medicaid Liens

In many cases, the personal property of a Medicaid recipient will be placed under a Georgia Medicaid lien. This can be very frightening for family members, who may worry that their home is going to be repossessed. Fortunately, no activity to recover possessions (including homes or property) will be taken while the recipient, recipient’s partner, or qualified children are living in the home. 

Additionally, estates valued under $25,000 will not go through Georgia Medicaid estate recovery. A local lawyer can provide more information.

Understanding Georgia Medicaid Liens

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Hospital Liens in Georgia

Hospital Liens in Georgia

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The property of those individuals who pass after residing in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or hospital may be subject to hospital liens in Georgia. If no action is required to plan for a recipient’s house, that house will be subject to Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery. This means that the state will put a lien on the home to recoup the expenses invested in the recipient while in a nursing home or hospital. 

The state will certainly not, however, place a lien on the residence if a partner (or a disabled/blind child, a child under age 21, or a brother or sister with an equity claim in the house) stays in the house. After the family member moves out, however, the state may try to collect the property. 

After a lien is placed on the home, the state does not compel an individual to market their home; it simply does not have a free and clear title. The debt to the state would need to be paid prior to the home being sold. This complex scenario is best explained by an experienced attorney.

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery Statute of Limitations

Along with the Georgia Medicaid estate recovery statute of limitations, there are many areas of the law that dictate how and when money can be collected. According to

“In order to protect the family of the Medicaid member, the following rules must be observed before any money can be collected:

  • The Medicaid member must have passed away and the surviving husband/wife must have also passed away. Until both have passed, recovery will be delayed.
  • The Medicaid member must not have dependent children younger than 21 years of age. Until the child reaches age 21, recovery will be delayed.
  • The Medicaid member must not have any dependent children of any age with a disability or blindness that has been confirmed by a government agency. Recovery will be delayed until the disabled/blind child has also passed.”

A qualified Georgia attorney can help you plan for a child with special needs or to care for other disabled relatives.

Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery Statute of Limitations

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Georgia Medicaid Forms and Waivers

Georgia Medicaid Forms and Waivers

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There are many Georgia Medicaid forms and waivers, but one that may come in especially handy is the waiver for Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery in cases of undue hardship. This waiver is explained as follows:

“The Medicaid program will waive or delay recovery if an undue hardship exists. The two conditions for an undue hardship are:

  • The asset to be recovered is an income-producing farm and the sole income of one or more of the heirs, and the annual gross income is limited to $25,000 or less;
  • Recovery of assets would result in the applicant becoming eligible for governmental assistance based on need and/or medical assistance programs.

If the heir feels he/she could be considered for an undue hardship waiver, a request may be made within 30 days of receiving Medicaid’s notice against the estate, or upon the sale, transfer, or conveyance of the real property subject to a TEFRA lien. The Estate Recovery Unit will provide detailed instructions in the Medicaid notice on how to le for an undue hardship waiver.”

To find out if this waiver applies to you or to handle other issues related to Georgia Medicaid Estate Recovery, it is best to retain a skilled and compassionate estate planning lawyer. They can give you the best chance at retaining the estate of your loved one. Contact attorney Paul Black for counsel.

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