Posted by: BlogMaster | March 29, 2012

Good News for Seniors in NY State

The Elder Law Committee of the New York State Bar Association announced today that Governor Cuomo and the Legislature have agreed on the final Health Budget Bill.

I am pleased to bring you good news for seniors. The bill rejects the elimination of spousal refusal and repeals the expanded definition of “estate”. The bill is expected to pass, barring any unforeseen last minutes changes.

For readers of my law blog, for the past several months I have discussed the expanded estate recover law passed on April 1, 2011 and its emergency regulations to expand Medicaid’s authority to be repaid for services provided to a Medicaid recipient after death – called “expanded recovery”.

Under current law, Medicaid may recover, with certain exceptions, against the estate of a deceased Medicaid recipient and their spouse. An estate is defined as a Surrogate Court proceeding – called probate if there is a Will, and administration or intestacy for those dying without a Will.

If the new legislation to expand recovery was not repealed, the law would have permitted recovery against life estate deed transfers (deeds transferred to family with a life estate retained by the senior), revocable living trusts, and possibly retirement accounts.

As well, it is good news that the Governor and Legislature have rejected efforts to eliminate spousal refusal. This important right – for spouses with assets or income in excess of Medicaid-permitted limits – means that senior couples may remain together in the community; or, if one spouse requires nursing home care, the other spouse will not be impoverished while remaining at home in the community or in an assisted living facility.

For now, seniors who have transferred their homes and retained life estates, or established revocable living trusts, can take a deep breath. When the repeal is finalized, I will provide you with an update here on the Legal Update Blog.



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