Estate Recovery By Brian R. Jenney

Do you have a loved one in a nursing home? Is he or she on Medicaid? If yes, Michigan now requires its Medicaid program to try to recover the money that it paid for nursing home services from the estates of Medicaid beneficiaries who have died. The State has just begun to send out a new form, called a “Notice of Intent to File Claim Against Estate,” asking about Medicaid repayment.

This new program applies to Medicaid beneficiaries who are 55 years of age or older or who have received long term care services anytime on or after September 30, 2007. At the moment, it only applies to whatever property and assets that the deceased Medicaid beneficiary may have owned that needs to pass through a “Decedent’s Estate” probate proceeding. In most cases, the only asset likely to need probating after death will be the deceased recipient’s house.

Currently, it works as follows. Once the State learns of a Medicaid beneficiary’s death, a Notice will be sent to the estate representative or heirs. The Notice says the State intends to file a claim against the estate, and gives the amount of the claim (which is the amount of money the State paid out on behalf of the person during his/her lifetime). A Michigan Estate Recovery Questionnaire is sent with the Notice. The Questionnaire states that it needs to be completed and returned within 2 weeks of receipt of the Notice, if the family wants to try to avoid the claim under one of the statutory exceptions to Estate Recovery.

If you get one of these Notices, you really should contact one of our Kemp Klein Elder Law Attorneys, to learn whether the State really has the right to try to collect these funds, and what defenses there might be if it does. Brian Jenney, Tom Trainer, and Cynthia Brazzil can all help you with these issues.


For further information regarding these matters, please contact Mr. Jenney at 248.740.5688 or via email; Mr. Trainer at 248.740.5673 or via email; or Ms. Brazzil at 248.740.5667 or via email.