Medicaid Recovery in Probate After a "Return Home"?

by Theresa
(Colorado Springs, CO)

My mother, who lives in Colorado, was on medicaid for 18 months until her house sold. She is now private pay which I understand Medicaid views the same as a "return home." There was no lien on the property when it was sold. She is very fragile and we expect her funds will outlast her lifetime so there should be no reason for her to return to medicaid. My questions are:

1.) Will a claim be filed against her assets during probate even though she has "returned home." Many sites talk about a lien being dissolved after 30 days but I understand a claim is something different.

2.) Can she dispose of her assets by gifting before her death? She is no longer receiving benefits and never plans to return to medicaid. Is there a "look back" period for probate estate recovery?

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Oct 02, 2010
No return home
by: Anonymous

It's true that if there was a lien placed on the house, "returning home" dissolves the lien. However, that doesn't mean that the state can't still file a claim for estate recovery.

In any event, returning home means actually leaving the nursing home and moving back into the home the patient originally lived in. Shifting from Medicaid paying to private paying is not a "return home."

Accordingly, the state still will have an outstanding "bill" for estate recovery against your mother's estate upon her death.

If she gifts her assets before death that could possibly frustrate the attempts of the state to recoup its claim, unless it files a claim for fraudulent transfer, which is always possible.

There is no lookback period for estate recovery, but many states have a statute of limitations. Once that period expires, the state may no longer file its claim for recovery. You'll have to check the Colorado rule to be sure what they do.

--K. Gabriel Heiser, attorney, author of "How to Protect Your Family's Assets from Devastating Nursing Home Costs: Medicaid Secrets" (

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Marquette, Michigan
I just want to thank you for this site. It answered my questions. I think many people that do research on the net take it for granted and when they find what they are looking for they forget "someone put time, money, etc into providing me with this information."

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