Tag Archives: LAPSE

Who has legal rights to the home?

Q: If there are three siblings and one sibling is deceased, and she was married. Dad had a house but died and left no will. Does the one deceased sibling’s husband have any rights to the house along with the remaining siblings? The husband also has Alzheimer’s and in a nursing home. (Plum Borough, PA)

A: I will assume that the sibling died prior to the passing of your father, your father owned the home and as you said, he had no will when he died, and your mother predeceased him, or they were divorced prior to his passing. If this is correct, his home will pass under the intestate laws (no will) of PA. Under your facts, his 3 children, and the child or children of a deceased child (if any) will inherit his estate property, which will include the house, in equal shares. If the deceased child (your sibling) had a child or children, that child or children will inherit the share of their deceased parent (your sibling) which would be one-quarter.

Can Medicaid recover funds from an estate of a person who died 2 years ago?

Q: My Grandmother passed in 2016. She utilized Medicaid for the last few years of life, including staying in a constant-care rehabilitation facility and hospitalizations for a stroke. After her death, an estate was opened. We reported to the state an estate value of $9,000. In May 2018, a distant cousin passed, and the remainder of their estate was disbursed to his next of kin. A check for $80,000 was made out to the estate of Grandmother. In June 2018, the state attempted to recover Medicaid expenses – $230,000 worth. They requested a full payment of the value of the estate, which was reported as $9,000. This was paid. In that payment, the state mentions that they could attempt to recover additional money into the estate. Can the state now – 2 years after death – come for the additional inheritance that was disbursed in May 2018? Or is that money safe to disburse from the estate to the living next of kin? (Upper St. Clair, PA)

A: It is true Medicaid can recover funds payable to an estate after the estate closes, or which are discovered later for whatever reason. I find it strange that there was an asset payable to your grandmother after she passed. If your grandmother died in 2016, it would seem to me that any inheritance from a distant cousin who dies in 2018, would “lapse” under PA probate law. Meaning, generally, a dead person cannot inherit money. Their inheritance is deemed to lapse or be void upon their death. In that case, their inheritance passes to an alternate beneficiary named in the will, or an alternate beneficiary under PA intestate law if there is no will. However, I understand in fact the payment to the estate was made. I would be careful here and have an attorney examine the payment from the asset to see if it can possibly fit into