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  >  Estate Administration   >  Estate Administration to Pursue Legal Claims – Part 3

Estate Administration to Pursue Legal Claims – Part 3

In last week’s blog post I talked about a call from an attorney who needed help.  He was handling a wrongful death claim on behalf of the children of a father who had died of injuries suffered in a car accident.  I was able to get the son appointed administrator ad prosequendum which allowed him to sign the papers accepting the settlement on behalf of his father’s estate.

As I explained last week, because that appointment was for a limited purpose we then had to file an application for the son to be appointed general administrator.  This time the judge required a bond for the protection of the heirs and creditors.  Dad had been a Medicaid recipient living in a nursing home at the time of his death so administering the estate was relatively easy, however, the one potential creditor was the State of New Jersey.

Under Medicaid estate recovery laws, the State can recoup from the estate benefits it paid out during the recipient’s lifetime.  No one could recall, however, receiving the estate recovery questionnaire that is mailed out after death and the attorney did not recall advising the State of the claim.  Additionally, it was now six years after death.  The length of time it took to resolve the claim together with Covid delays made for an usually long passage of time so it was possible that the State’s file had been closed.

My letter to Medicaid went unanswered. The only option at that point was to file a formal accounting, which is what we did.  Putting the State on notice of our intent to distribute the proceeds to the heirs and obtaining a court order would force the issue.  We would have the certainty of the court approving the proposed distribution so the State cannot come back later looking to be paid.  They would need to provide us with their claim now.