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For many Missouri families the single most valuable asset they own is their home.  Through blood, sweat and tears they saved and worked to create the family home.  When they are faced with a long-term care problem it is only natural that they are concerned what will happen to their home.  For many the confusion about the safety of their home arises under the exemptions of the home as a countable asset.  St. Peters Elder Law Attorney Rosalind Robertson notes, “we always caution our clients that the term exempt is not synonymous with safe and they should not count on the home being safe merely because it is exempt.”  In fact, the home may actually be far from safe because of the Federal Government’s requirement that state Medicaid agencies seek to recover amounts they have expended upon individuals when they pass away, a concept known as Estate Recovery.

Under the Estate Recovery concept, Missouri Medicaid will be expected to place a lien on your home for any amounts they expend on your long-term care.  There are exceptions to this rule where your spouse remains in the home or you have certain other dependent relatives in the home such as a child under 21 years of age or a blind or disabled child.  In those circumstances Missouri Medicaid cannot place a lien on the home.

However, if the applicant is single or something happens and the spouse or dependent relative ceases to occupy the home, Missouri Medicaid can and will place a lien on the home.  If the home is sold during the applicant’s lifetime then the proceeds from the sale must first be used to satisfy the lien.  If there are excess proceeds from the sale, they will render the applicant ineligible for Medicaid benefits if the assets exceed the individual limits.  If the home is held until the application passes, then the lien against the home must be honored before the house can be transferred.  The courts have even determined that a beneficiary deed does not avoid the requirement that a Medicaid lien be satisfied.  With the cost of nursing home care, it does not take long for many homes value to be completely consumed by the lien.  “There are numerous ways someone can protect their home from Estate Recovery under Medicaid even if they are already sick, the critical piece to the puzzle is consulting with a knowledgeable elder lawyer as soon as long-term care becomes a real risk,” indicates St. Peters Elder Law Attorney Stephen Jones.  “At Jones Elder Law we have helped countless families pass their beloved family home to whom they want, and how they want, without jeopardizing the critical Medicaid benefits their loved ones needed, “ indicated St. Peters Elder Law Attorney Rosalind Robertson.

If you or your family are struggling with any Missouri Medicaid decisions, make an appointment with the experienced St. Peters Elder Law Attorneys at Jones Elder Law. That way, you can decide what happens to the assets you worked so hard to build.  If we can help you get started, contact our St. Peters elder law firm at (636) 812-2575 and ask to schedule your consultation.