Transfer of Home With Retained Life Estate Still An Available Asset For Medicaid Purposes.

 Before death and during the applicable Medicaid look-back period, the father deeded his residential real estate to his daughter and retained a life estate in the property.  After the transfer, the father applied for Medicaid benefits, and received over $170,000 in benefits by the time of his death.  The state (Idaho) Medicaid agency filed an estate recovery claim in his estate pursuant to state law.  ID law provides that the state Medicaid agency has a claim against non-probate property that passes to a survivor via life estate and other arrangements.  The trial court determined that only the remainder interest was an asset of the estate.  That determination was upheld on appeal.  The estate appealed, asserting that the decedent didn't have any interest in the life estate at death.  On further review the ID Supreme Court held that the retained life estate was also an estate asset for Medicaid estate recovery purposes.  In re Estate of Petersen, No. 40615, 2014 Ida. LEXIS 217 (Idaho Sup. Ct. Aug. 13, 2014).

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