There is no doubt that Medi-Cal recovery is a worry for many elders and their families. Fortunately, for those who have been worried about possible changes under a new president, Governor Brown signed into law a new bill called Senate Bill 833 (SB833), which has added protections for any senior estates that are subject for recovery under Medi-Cal. The new law, SB833, limits how Medi-Cal can recover from estates in several ways. Even with the good news of these changes, because the laws can be complex and confusing, we highly recommend that you consult with an elder law attorney who can help you make the right decisions if you or a family member is dealing with Medi-Cal.
Limits Under Senate Bill 833
For anyone who has been worried about possible changes in legislation, these new proposals are good news.
Here are the ways that SB833 has limited Medi-Cal recovery:
- Surviving spouses and domestic partners that are registered are protected from any claims against the estate.
- Anyone 55 years or older is only subject to recovery on home and community based services and nursing home costs.
- Recovery is limited to only the assets that are subject to probate in California.
- The amount of interest the state of California can charge on liens is limited.
- When the home is deemed to be 50% or less than the market value, then the state of California is held to waiving the claim as a substantial hardship.
- The state of California is required to provide a copy of the amount of Medi-Cal expenses that are subject to recovery to any current or former beneficiaries or their authorized representatives.
Living Trusts: The Most Important Limit
While it is fairly clear that the above listed limits are an enormous triumph for all recipients of Medi-Cal, there is a limit written in bold that helps Medi-Cal recipients and their families the most. As of January 1, 2017, only the assets of an estate that are subject to the death probate in court are recoverable by Medi-Cal. That means that any assets that are put into a living trust cannot be taken by Medi-Cal.
This important change in the law eliminates many of the complexities of Medi-Cal estate planning. Plain and simple, if there is a living trust, assets can be shielded from Medi-Cal recovery. However, something that you need to understand is that putting assets into a living trust will not automatically qualify you for Medi-Cal. In fact, the requirements for Medi-Cal eligibility today to have not changed, despite these changes of limitations of the law.
Experienced Help With Medi-Cal Laws
There is a lot to think about when it comes to Medi-Cal planning. That is why it is crucial to consult with an experienced Medi-Cal attorney who will ensure that your assets are protected while you still qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. Contact the attorneys at MMZ Law at (909) 256- 6702 to find out how you can protect your assets and have peace of mind while still utilizing your Medi-Cal benefits.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY:
MMZ LAW, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION
341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711
MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.
This information is educational information only and not legal advice.