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NYS Budget Declares “Open Season” on Seniors

NYS Budget Declares “Open Season” on SeniorsChanges to Medicaid could spell trouble for elderly New Yorkers and their families

April 5, 2011 – Albany, N.Y. – A significant change to the Medicaid laws in New York State’s recently adopted budget could cause problems for the state’s seniors, their children and other beneficiaries. The change, which took effect on April 1, redefines the term “estate” and allows the state’s counties to go after more assets following a Medicaid recipient’s death. The changes could have a significant impact on survivors, heirs and beneficiaries, who could be forced to sell their inherited assets, including homes, or dip into trusts that were previously exempt from Medicaid recovery.

“It appears the governor and the Legislature have declared ‘open season’ on New York’s seniors and their beneficiaries,” said a Tully Rinckey PLLC Estate Planning attorney. “Medicaid is now free to go after assets that were previously protected from Medicaid recovery after death. This is going to cause a lot of heartache for the survivors of Medicaid recipients.”

The new law redefines an individual’s “estate” for Medicaid recovery purposes to include:

  1. Jointly-held property
  2. Retained life estates
  3. Interest in trusts

“These changes are significant because they could take away some of the estate planning tools attorneys have used to ease the hardships on families when a loved one dies. It means that people need to plan in different ways and seriously consider long-term care insurance,” he added.


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