MEDICAID ESTATE RECOVERY IN MISSOURI
Under Missouri law, MO HealthNet (aka Missouri’s Medicaid Program) can make a postdeath claim against the estate of a benefit recipient. (RSMo. 473.398). This is known as Medicaid Estate Recovery.
This blog article discusses Medicaid Estate Recovery in Missouri, how it works and exceptions. For starters, Missouri courts have recognized the state’s right to pursue an accounting to recovery property to satisfy its claim. The Family Support Division (FSD) will sent a notice to the person handling the deceased person’s affairs.
There are exceptions to the right to estate recovery. One is if there is a surviving spouse of the decedent who received Medicaid benefits. The other is where a surviving child under 21 years of age or surviving adult child who is blind or permanently and totally disabled. Additionally, no recovery is allowed where the benefit recipient was under the age of 55 when they received MO Healthnet benefits.
Estate recovery claims are not subject to the six month nonclaim period like other creditors or to the one year deadline for filing a claim. However, if not probate proceeding is filed within one year of the recipient’s death, the estate recovery is time barred.
A MO Healthnet Claim is a claim of the seventh class (RSMo. 473.397), so it is allowed after payment of court costs, administration expenses, exempt property, the family and homestead allowance, funeral expenses, taxes and debts to the United States and the reasonable cost of a tombstone. Basically what this means is that the Medicaid estate recovery, if valid, is paid after all of the above is paid first. Those expenses can be significant and as a result can ultimately reduce the value of Medicaid estate recovery claim.
The standard of proving the claim is low. Missouri Department of Social Services (MoDSS) does not have to produce written records.
Proper Medicaid planning can help ensure not only initial eligibility for Medicaid but also protect the estate, as best as possible, against estate recovery. Our office assists clients with this type of planning and offers clients a free consultation to see if they are a good candidate for Medicaid Planning.