Medi-Cal estate claim with joint ownership
June 8, 2016 11:20 PM   Subscribe

YANM(mother's)L - My mother and her two brothers have joint ownership of a home in California (left to them as an inheritance). One of the three has been on Medi-Cal for many years, and another was on it for only a few years.

If one of them (with Medi-Cal history) dies, and the state makes an estate claim against the property, what would that mean for the survivors? Would the state demand a cash payment from them ("buying out" the deceased's portion of the assessed value), or could they demand the property be sold?

I've only read some stuff like this, so I understand that the only way out of estate claims is to empty it before death. However, I don't know what is likely to happen if they continue to have joint-ownership and one of them dies (an eventuality which has come up in conversation recently, hence this ASK).

This all at stake, is the best choice to have one of them buy the others out if possible? That sounds like a good choice to minimize a volatile situation, but I don't know much about the whole situation (individual finances and the like).

Other than suggesting they consult a lawyer, which is my advice, I'd like to hear if anyone knows about this process. What else should they know?

posted by klausman to Work & Money (2 answers total)
I don't know if this pertains to the situation you are describing but check out the MediCal/Estate Planning Fact Sheets at the Web site of the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform. On the left side menu go to Free Consumer Fact Sheets or Consumer Resources links. Pretty good description of MediCal estate recovery practices/issues. This site focuses on California elder care issues.

The Web site in general is invaluable for information on skilled nursing facilities, board and care or assisted living facilities (RCFE residential care for the elderly), MediCal and many issues related to elder issues in California.
posted by WinstonJulia at 1:56 AM on June 9, 2016

I am not a California attorney, but this is pretty much universal: when D owns a home jointly with another person, on D's death the other person becomes the full owner and the home is not an asset of D's estate.

That does not end it. Each state varies on whether such non-estate assets are subject to creditor claims. But it answers one important question.
posted by megatherium at 5:41 AM on June 9, 2016

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