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  • Writer's pictureHector Perez

Understanding California's Medi-Cal Recovery Program

Updated: Nov 18, 2019


In the State of California, if an individual dies on or after January 1, 2017, and that individual was 55 years of age or older when he/she received Medi-Cal benefits, the State may make a claim against the deceased person's estate for the amount of the Medi-Cal benefits paid or the value of the estate, whichever is less. This is known as an "Estate Recovery" claim, and it is a claim that is made by the Department of Health Care Services.


What is interesting is that the State can only make an Estate Recovery claim if: 1) the home is still in the deceased person's name when they die and 2) if it is subject to probate under California law.

For example, your house may be an exempt asset while you are alive, and not counted for Medi-Cal eligibility purposes. However, if the home is still in your name when you die and if it is subject to probate under California law, it is part of your “estate” and the State may make a claim against your estate for the amount of the Medi-Cal benefits paid or the value of the estate, whichever is less.


On the other hand, if the house was in the name of a trust, for instance, the State would be barred from bringing any claims against the house – even if the individual received Medi-Cal when they were 55 years or older, because a trust is not subject to probate.


In order to best serve our clients, we provide effective estate planning services for a reasonable professional lawyer fee, saving all parties involved from having to pay court costs, administrative fees and potentially expensive probate litigator fees in the future.

For more information about the value of an estate plan, please contact our office!



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