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State put lien on house in ME for Medicare bill Maine

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  • State put lien on house in ME for Medicare bill Maine

    Not sure if I picked the correct topic to post this in but this question has a little bit of everything in it. (Please move to correct forum if you feel the need, admins.) Here's the deal: My mother-in-law just turned 84. She's in fairly good health and is still able to live on her own and drives her car. She had to have hip surgery last year. Her daughter told my mother-in-law that the state would be taking her house after she died in order to pay for her surgery. CAN the state put a lien on your house for medical bills? We believe she's on Medicare as well as Medicaid. You must understand that my sister-in-law is SHADY and GREEDY. My mother-in-law HAD originally set her will up so that everything went to my husband and he would distribute everything fairly. He told his mother he didn't think that was fair and that she should put both of them. Then we found out that his sister (who did not know about any of this and still doesn't) told her to leave my husband completely out of it because he doesn't live in Maine. (We live in North Carolina.) She's trying to convince us that the house is already gone to the state. She was FURIOUS when we came up this month and added on a large deck for my mother-in-law! Incidentally, my husband and I don't give a lick about where the house goes after mom dies. As long as she is taken care of while she's alive and all her medical bills are paid in exchange for taking the house. Is there a way we can find out if there IS indeed a lien on the house, IF the state can do that and if there will be a problem with the will after she dies since it's put in both my husband and sister-in-laws' names? We're afraid that my sister-in-law is just saying that the house is gone because SHE'S planning on paying off the amount owed to make money on it and freeze my husband out. They grew up in that house and my husband would like to be able to take our daughter up to Maine during the summers. She's trying to make people in Maine think my mother-in-law is losing it when she's not!! Sorry, turning into a rant. We just want to know how we can put my mother-in-law's mind at ease about all this. Can anyone help? Thank you!

  • #2
    Sorry hon but if your MIL had medicaid, not medicare, pay one cent on her medical bills then yes most every state does put a lien on any real property to recover the expense. You need to call the social services office in Maine and find out what the procedure is post death of MIL as far as when and how they resolve the lien. Some states allow for what would otherwise he hiers to have first dibs on the house. Whomever steps up, ie: children, grandchildren, siblings, and gets a mortage on the home or otherwise pays the costs that medicaid paid for her care so that they fully recover is allowed to do so before putting the home up for auction. This saves the state money as they don't have to deal with any of it. Just get their money back and everyone is happy. Again the best way for you to get this information is from the horses mouth. Call what ever the agency in Maine is that oversees the medicaid program, most places it is refered to as social services, and ask. Your SIL is likely telling it like it is on this one with the exception if she left off the part of first dibs.


    • #3
      Also, if you feel that your sister-in-law is taking advantage of your mother-in-law, you might wish to contact the adult protective services agency in Maine where your mother-in-law lives. They have the power to investigate charges of elder abuse and to take action if your sister-in-law is doing something she shouldn't.
      I am not able to respond to private messages. Thanks!


      • #4
        Lastly, I would get a good estate planning lawyer involved (in Maine) to lay out the assets of your MIL NOW. This minute.

        Include the SIL... but only via mail. Then, everything is laid out... your MIL doesn't worry because your SIL isn't the one telling her the sky is falling, and the lawyer will put her fears to rest.

        There may even be a way for your MIL to sell you half of the house NOW so that you can put a lien on it and start paying down the bill.

        Everyone is always scared to pay $200-$500 to a lawyer... but it really saves you SOOO much time and emotional effort.
        Not everything that makes you mad, sad or uncomfortable is legally actionable.

        I am not now nor ever was an attorney.

        Any statements I make are based purely upon my personal experiences and research which may or may not be accurate in a court of law.


        • #5
          It's called "greedy government."


          • #6
            Originally posted by Troubleshooter View Post
            It's called "greedy government."
            Welcome to Maine, "The way life should be."
            Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.