Estate recovery is the process through which the State to recovers the costs of medical services it has paid from the estate of the person who received those services. The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) are the agencies that may recover costs. The DSHS Office of Financial Recovery is responsible for executing estate recovery. Estate recovery is allowed under limited circumstances.
The law does not generally allow recovery during a person’s lifetime. Further, it does not allow recovery during the lifetime of a surviving spouse or registered domestic partner, or while there is a surviving child who is under 21 years old, or a blind or disabled child of any age.
For the purposes of estate recovery law, a person’s “estate” includes all real property and other property, including bank accounts, stocks or bonds, vehicles, or other assets, that is owned at the time of death. If a person has nothing in his or her estate at the time when the State’s authority to recovery begins, then there can be no estate recovery.
Which medical services are subject to estate recovery laws varies depending on who paid for the services, whether that was Medicaid or Washington State. Estate recovery for state-funded Long-Term Care is allowed for services provided after May 2004 for people of any age.
Medicaid-funded services are paid for jointly by the federal government and Washington State. Estate recovery is allowed for Medicaid-funded services:
- For Long-Term Care related services provided after December 2013 to a person who is 55 or older.
- For all Medicaid-funded services provided between June 2004 and December 2013 to a person who is 55 or older.
- For certain Medicaid-funded Services provided before June 2004.
However, estate recovery for Medicaid-funded services is not generally allowed for services provided to a person under 55, unless the recipient is a nursing home resident who is permanently institutionalized.
Estate recovery laws are complex. The experienced Elder Law Attorneys of Elder Law Group PLLC are here to help you understand estate recovery, Asset Protection Estate Planning™, and Medicaid Asset Preservation Strategies™.
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Elder Law Group PLLC has been recognized as one of the fasted growing law firms in the U.S. as an Annual Law Firm 500 Award honoree. Contact us or call (509) 468-0551 (Spokane office), or (509) 579-0206 (Tri-Cities office), for personal, compassionate guidance in Estate Planning and Elder Law.