In the past twelve months, the housing market seems to have slowed to a grinding halt. This has caused more concerns than normal for clients in need of long-term care. With assets and pensions funds diminishing with the falling market and houses not selling, more and more clients are in need of turning to Medicaid/ALTCS to help with covering their long-term costs.
In Arizona, an individual is allowed to keep a house valued at less than $500,000 and still qualify for ALTCS. At first glance, this seems like good news. Indeed, if done appropriately, one can apply for ALTCS and secure long-term care benefits even though one has a home of substantial value!
One must always remember that ALTCS is keeping tally of the costs it is expending upon an applicant/recipient of the ALTCS program. Because most on ALTCS have less than $2,000, there is not much chance that ALTCS will ever recover its costs-unless there is a house. If the house exists, you can be assured that ALTCS is keenly aware of it.
There are various ways that ALTCS attempts to collect from houses, and it is constantly seeking to expand its options. The most common approach is for ALTCS to recover from the probated estate. This approach has probably not born the fruit that ALTCS has desired, but often it is ALTCS’ only option. A more secure approach for ALTCS is to place a TEFRA lien on the property. This approach allows ALTCS to attain recovery when the house sales, but ALTCS is not allowed to use it in all circumstances. In either event, one should consult with an Elder Law Attorney to understand one’s rights and options with regard to their houses.