Estate Recovery from Surviving Spouse's Estate -- when there is a second marriage

Will the state of Mississippi's Medicaid Estate Recovery take the money from the new surviving spouse?

Example: Joe is married to Sally. Sally gets sick and is placed in a nursing home. Joe and Sally divorce after a year. Joe marries Sue. Sally dies but there is no estate that Mississippi can recover from. Joe dies before Sue.

So, does Medicaid try to recover from Joe and Sue's estate the amount that was paid for Sally? If so is it the whole amount until her death or just the amount that accrued during their marriage?

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Mar 10, 2011
Not if divorce happens prior to death
by: Gabriel Heiser

Medicaid can only recover from the assets in which the deceased Medicaid recipient had a legal interest at the time of death. Although a few states are using a "tracing" approach to go after assets transferred to a surviving spouse, in all cases the "spouse" must have been still married to the Medicaid recipient at the time of his/her death. So in your example, Since Joe was not married to Sally at Sally's death, the state is limited to assets in Sally's name.

Be aware that if Sally is deemed mentally incompetent at the time a divorce is sought, most states will not permit it to proceed. In other words, they won't let a person's guardian file for a divorce on their ward's behalf.

P.S.--I'm being interviewd on the radio a few times next week; see the list at Medicaid Secrets or Medicaid Secrets Blog.

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