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Trust issue-Medi-Cal Creditor's Claim


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#1 Blondie1967

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

Hello,
I was mailed papers from the Deputy Attorney General for the state of CA. The dept of health is demanding reimbursement for a stay at a CA nursing home. Actually, I'm being sued as the trustee of the estate.
My grandmother passed away in 2002. At the time of her death she was a resident of a nursing home (her stay was over 5 yrs) in CA. My grandfather passed away in 2012, at home. At the time of both of their deaths, their estate was placed in a trust. My grandfather repeatedly expressed to me that the estate was protected from all entities claiming anything against the estate. (he was ensuring I would have more than enough to provide for my special needs child.) He also said that neither himself or my grandmother owned anything, that the trust owned the property. My grandfather was very thorough as if I would pass with him while visiting CA, my son would inherit the trust, however, that would be placed in a special needs trust as to not possibly jepordize his care. The trust is about 3-4 inches thick.
So, what I do not understand is why do I have to reimburse Medi-Cal? The home, cars, property were all placed in a trust, prior to my grandmother entering the nursing home. I am being told by an estate attorney that because my grandfather did not take my grandmother's name off of the trust, she did in fact own the trust. I am thinking my grandmother would only inherit the trust, as beneficiary, upon my grandfather's death, so she did not own the trust.
As crazy as the state of CA is and the all recent bank fraud that has hit the nation on the news as of late, wouldn't my grandfather's attorney or business be held accountable for fraud for not informing my grandfather of that issue? I live in South Dakota and am quit naive to the state of CA laws. These questions were placed to me and I hope I can possibly find some answers prior to giving up to the situation.
I am grateful for any suggestions, remarks or comments.

#2 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 12:59 PM

Trusts vary widely as to their terms. It matters very much exactly what the trust document says, and obviously I've not read that three to four inch thick trust agreement. So, just telling me that your grandparents set up trusts does not tell me much.

Also, the exact facts matter greatly. You say, for example, that your grandparent’s assets were transferred to a trust prior to when she entered the nursing home. But how long before? And when did she apply for the Medi-Cal care? These facts matter because transfers of assets that occur with in a short time (3 or 5 years depending on what the law said at the time) before applying for Medicare assistance can result in denial of Medicare benefits for a period of time and may allow the state to recover what was paid if she got benefits she should not have received.

You also say that their estates were placed in trust at the time of their deaths. This suggests that there may have been assets they had that were not transferred to the trust before she died. The assets your grandmother had at her death were likely recoverable by the state to pay the cost of Medi-Cal benefits she received.

All I can suggest is that you have a California attorney familiar the law on Medi-Cal review the trust and the surrounding fact and advise you what options you have to deal with this.

#3 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:05 PM

Sounds like you have a lot of questions on this topic. You may want to consider signing up for LegalStreet. You can ask all of your questions regarding this matter to a local California lawyer for less than $13 per month and also get discounted legal representation if you need.

#4 Blondie1967

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:05 PM

All assests were placed in the trust prior to her placement and all property was still in the trust upon both of their deaths. I do not know the date of when she applied for Medi-Cal prior to her placement in the nursing home.
Thank you so much for your time and response. I truly appreciate it.

#5 pg1067

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 01:44 PM

I'm being sued as the trustee of the estate.


There's no such thing as a "trustee of [an] estate." Estates have executors, personal representatives, or administrators. Trusts have trustees.


My grandmother passed away in 2002. At the time of her death she was a resident of a nursing home (her stay was over 5 yrs) in CA. My grandfather passed away in 2012, at home. At the time of both of their deaths, their estate was placed in a trust.


The reference to "their estate" doesn't make sense. Each of them had an estate. My instinct is to interpret this to mean that, while they were both alive, they created a trust and that each of them had a will that left each of their estates to that trust. Some clarification here would be helpful.


My grandfather repeatedly expressed to me that the estate was protected from all entities claiming anything against the estate.


Again, it's not entirely clear what you're talking about. Your grandmother's estate? Your grandfather's estate? Or did he really mean the trust? Of course, just because he said this doesn't mean he was right. And, as stated, he cannot have been right. No legal entity is absolutely protected against anyone making claims.


He also said that neither himself or my grandmother owned anything, that the trust owned the property.


I have to repeat my statement that this isn't necessarily true just because he said it. As a practical matter, when a married couple create a trust, they typically transfer titled assets to the trust while they are living (e.g., real property, bank accounts, motor vehicles, investment accounts). But almost no one transfers non-titled property to trusts. Moreover, even for property transferred to the trust, if the trust was a revocable trust, the distinction between the person who transfers the property to the trust and the trust itself is generally disregarded.


The trust is about 3-4 inches thick.


That seems extremely unlikely. A 500-page ream of paper is about 2 inches thick, so you're talking about somewhere in the neighborhood of 700-1,000 pages. Did your grandparents (or their trust) own tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in assets? Even so, I can tell you that I've been working for a little over a year on a matter involving a trust created by a deceased person who had well in excess of $10 million in assets. Her trust instrument is about 60 pages long. There's virtually no chance that your grandparents' trust instrument was 700 pages.


So, what I do not understand is why do I have to reimburse Medi-Cal?


Who said you do? Just because the AG demanded reimbursement doesn't mean the claim is legally valid.


The home, cars, property were all placed in a trust, prior to my grandmother entering the nursing home.


If it was a revocable trust, that doesn't matter at all. If it was an irrevocable trust, then it matters how long prior to her entry into the nursing home the assets were transferred.


I am being told by an estate attorney that because my grandfather did not take my grandmother's name off of the trust, she did in fact own the trust.


I'm not quite sure what that means, but would it be safe to assume that this attorney has actually read the trust instrument? If so, no one on an Internet message board is going to be in a position to second guess his/her conclusion.


As crazy as the state of CA is and the all recent bank fraud that has hit the nation on the news as of late, wouldn't my grandfather's attorney or business be held accountable for fraud for not informing my grandfather of that issue?


You seem to be mixing two issues here. We obviously have no clue what advice your grandfather's attorney gave him or how he requested the trust be set up. However, whether his attorney did or did not commit malpractice doesn't seem to have any relevance to the State of California's alleged "craziness" or "all the recent bank fraud that has hit the nation" (whatever that means).


I live in South Dakota and am quit naive to the state of CA laws.


CA law isn't particularly unique as it relates to the issues you raised. In particular, I'm fairly sure that most states do not look kindly on persons with significant assets seeking state-paid medical and nursing care while they retain their own assets to leave them for their children and grandchildren.

I strongly urge that you consult with one or more attorneys in the California county where the suit against you was filed. If you received a summons and complaint by certified mail, that constitutes valid service under California law and the clock will be ticking on your deadline to respond to the lawsuit.

#6 Blondie1967

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Posted 24 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

I'm sorry, I mis-spoke..I was the trustee to their trust, then trustee to my grandfather's trust. Yes, the house, contents, and cars were placed in the trust. I keep saying estate, because at times the banks, etc used that term. Each left each other the trust upon their death. My grandfather just kept telling me on every visit that I would have no worries regarding the trust being left to me, he said it would be a very easy transfer and it was protected. And he did place the contents of the house, he also had remarks in the trust regarding repairs, family members contesting and a special needs trust for my son. Well, all I can say is the trust is thick, its overwhelming for me. The original wills are in this binder along with the trust when it was made. Also when addendums were placed, when he changed family members from the trust, etc. I received court papers with a court date from the deputy attorney general, so I guess they are telling me I owe the money as "trustee of the trust and individually". Yes, it was an irrevocable trust and I do not know the date off hand when my grandmother was placed. I only wrote the response regarding the craziness of CA from a remark made by the physician I work with and he told me to propose some questions regarding the on-going bank issues of the country and the craziness of CA. And I have spoke with an attorney in CA, I just wanted to get more advice regarding this issue. My grandfather was a commanding officer in the Navy, I really don't think he was hiding his assets. He was very proud to serve this country. Thank you very much for your response and your time. It was greatly appreciated.




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