The Mississippi Court of Appeals recently ruled that real property that is "exempt" from creditor claims within a probated estate, are not subject to Medicaid's recapture rights. Federal law requires all staets that participate in the Medicaid program to recover the costs of care of a beneficiary against that beneficiary's estate. This practice is commonly known as "Estate Recovery." However, Mississippi probate law also provides that certain assets, like a person's homestead, pass to the heirs free and clear of any other debts of the Estate. These two provisions of state law where Medicaid asserts a lien against an estate that contains homestead property. In the case of Stinson v. Medicaid, the Court of Appeals resolved this issue in favor of homeowners and beneficiaries. The Court held that Medicaid's recovery right did not place it in any special position not enjoyed by every other creditor, and therefore held that the home property passed free of indebtedness to Medicaid. The full case is here: Stinson Medicaid has appealed the case to the Mississippi Supreme Court.
This ruling opens up tremendous planning opportunities for sheltering assets. If you need assistance in protecting the assets of a loved one that is residing in a nursing home, or may reside in one soon, feel free to contact my office for a complementary phone consultation. (601)925-9797.