Protect your home from Medi-Cal recovery

 In Blog, Estate Planning, Real Estate

When you get older, you might have additional medical expenses that you don’t have now (i.e., a home healthcare provider or assisted living). If you qualify, you can get assistance with these expenses through Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program. However, some people are worried about what will happen to their homes if they receive Medi-Cal benefits.

What happens to my house?

Your home is exempt from the determination of your Medi-Cal eligibility. However, after you die, Medi-Cal, through the Estate Recovery Program, may seek repayment of expenses by making a claim against the property in your estate.

Is there a way to avoid this?

Yes. One way to avoid this is to execute a revocable living trust and transfer your home to the trust. This benefit has only been available for a couple years, due to a change in the law, but it is hugely helpful to Medi-Cal recipients.

Because Medi-Cal can only collect against your probate estate, assets that avoid probate are not subject to recovery. Because assets in a living trust avoid probate, your house is safe for your beneficiaries.

Should I wait until I’m on Medi-Cal to draft a living trust?

No, you should not wait. Protection from Medi-Cal recovery is only one benefit to having a living trust. If you die before you draft a trust, your estate will still have to go through probate. Medi-Cal recovery aside, probate is still a costly hassle for your heirs.

Additionally, if you wait until you are receiving Medi-Cal benefits, you may no longer have sufficient mental and legal capacity to execute valid trust documents. You should execute a living trust while you are still capable of making your own decisions. If you lose capacity, a conservatorship will be required to manage your assets.

A living trust has many benefits: keeping your estate out of probate, avoiding the need for a conservatorship, and providing for an orderly distribution of your estate. And now, with the change in the law, a living trust can prevent Medi-Cal recovery from taking your home from your heirs.

Helix Law Firm can draft a living trust for you

If you would like to set up a living trust, we can help. A revocable living trust is one part of an overall estate plan, which also includes a pour-over will, durable power of attorney, and advance healthcare directive.

If you’re interested in learning more, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.

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