Big Changes in Medi-Cal!
As of January 2017, there is great news for people who may find themselves in need of Medi-Cal. The laws regarding recovery against estates for benefits paid to a Medi-Cal recipient have been changed.
Before January 1, 2017, the Medi-Cal program was able to recover money that was spent on medical services for people who were 55 years of age or older. If the family was unable to repay the state after the passing of the Medi-Cal recipient, a lien was placed on their home.
Fortunately, California passed a new Recovery Reform on January 1, 2017 which stops claims from being placed on people’s home, despite having received Medi-Cal. The home, however, can only be protected from Medi-Cal Recovery if it is protected under a LIVING TRUST.
What is Medi-Cal?
Medi-Cal is simply the name used for Medicaid in the state of California. Medi-Cal is provided as assistance for low income and/or low resource people. However, the not often discussed, dirty little secret is that middle class people often quickly and unexpectedly enter the ranks of those qualified to receive Medi-Cal when they need in-home or nursing home care.
The State of California has recovered over $1 Billion from Medi-Cal recipient’s Estates, Real Property, Bank and Retirement Accounts. This is known as “Medi-Cal Recovery.”
Avoiding Probate and Medi-Cal Recovery
Probate is necessary any time assets are left in a deceased person’s name after their passing. If a person receiving Medi-Cal places their home into a Living Trust, prior to their death, the home can not be claimed by Medi-Cal for repayment. This also means there will not be a Probate because the property is owned by the Living Trust and is no longer in the person’s name.
Living Trusts allow people to protect personal items, cash accounts and most importantly, their homes from Probate. It is important to have a qualified Estate Planning Attorney to prepare your Living Trust in order to make sure your Properties can not be claimed by Medi-Cal at the time of your death. Failure to do so means the state can make a claim against your home for the amount of the Medi-Cal benefits paid or the value of the estate, whichever is less.
Taking Action: What You Need to Do Now
Take advantage of the Medi-Cal Recovery Reform…ACT NOW! Whether a person is receiving Medi-Cal benefits, have received them in the past, or if they could receive Medi-Cal benefits in the future, Seniors must be proactive in protecting their assets for themselves and their family. It is imperative that they now place all of their assets into a properly drawn trust. It is the ONLY way to ensure that their family will be protected from Medi-Cal Recovery and Probate at the time of their death.
Attorney Caprice L. Collins and the Collins Law Group
Caprice L. Collins, Founder of the Collins Law Group is a top-rated Harvard Law School trained Attorney with thirty-eight (38) years of experience focusing on Living Trusts, Wills, Business Planning, Trust Administration and related areas for individuals and their families.
The Collins Law Group is devoted exclusively to estate planning. We are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys. We offer comprehensive and personalized estate planning consultations. For more information or attend an upcoming seminar, please contact us at (310) 677-9787 or visit us online at www.collinslawgroup.com.