If my brother passed away, is his estate responsible for medical bills that do are not Medicaid providers?

At the time of death, his only asset was $900 and a truck (valued at $8,000). He was single with no children. He was approved for Medicaid retro to 10 months ago. What about his medical bills prior to the retroactive date? He incurred well over $200,000 in medical bills. His funeral was $5,500 that I need to be reimbursed for. I have a mentally ill brother that am sure is going to file a lawsuit for what he feels is his inheritance. How do I distribute the few thousand dollars left ($8,900 less funeral expenses)? What is my obligation? How would I know if anyone has filed a claim against the estate? I have a small estate affidavit.

Asked on September 19, 2013 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  This can be quite a complicated issue but put simply, Medicaid has a lien against your estate for the amount paid out for your care.  But funeral bills and taxes have priority over Medicaid claims. Now, the medical bills prior to Medicaid status are also a lien against the estate, but down on the list - after funeral bills, taxes and Medicaid claims. I would consider consulting with an attorney in your area about whether or not a small estate affidavit is best given all the creditors, etc and your other brother.  Having a probate that spells everything out in detail and gives the proper notice to creditors may be the best thing here to protect you as well.  Good luck.

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  This can be quite a complicated issue but put simply, Medicaid has a lien against your estate for the amount paid out for your care.  But funeral bills and taxes have priority over Medicaid claims. Now, the medical bills prior to Medicaid status are also a lien against the estate, but down on the list - after funeral bills, taxes and Medicaid claims. I would consider consulting with an attorney in your area about whether or not a small estate affidavit is best given all the creditors, etc and your other brother.  Having a probate that spells everything out in detail and gives the proper notice to creditors may be the best thing here to protect you as well.  Good luck.


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