Can Medicaid place a lien on my mother-in-law's house for her nursing home care?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 18, 2016
Nerd asked...

My wife's family had to deal with their mother's Alzheimer's. They had to place her in a nursing home and Medicaid paid for the nursing home. Now, after her death and the death of her husband, the family home has a lien on it for the cost of the medicaid payments. What can be done about this? Their son needs this home. The son provided care for his father for years until he passed and now the home he thought he would inherit has a medicaid lien on it. Can he live there? Can he have it deeded to himself? Can he leave the home to his children?


Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for Caring.com.

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, Medicaid can place a lien on your in-laws' house to recoup payments that were made for nursing home care. If your brother-in-law had lived with his parents and cared for them for at least two years, he would be able to keep the house free and clear. It sounds like he did not live there even though he cared for them. If he wants to keep the house, he needs to satisfy the lien. Perhaps he can apply for a mortgage or home equity line of credit or loan to pay off the lien.

For anyone else who is reading this and planning ahead, had the title to the house been transferred to the husband's name only, it would have been protected from Medicaid.