Medicaid Estate Recovery in Idaho

Apr 14, 2022 | Business, Estate Planning

By Jason M. Gray, Esq.

In my law practice, I meet with a lot of families that have questions about Medicaid estate recovery. It’s important to understand how Medicaid estate recovery could affect you or your loved ones because of the potential impact on your long-term estate planning goals.

In Idaho, anyone who receives Medicaid benefits that is 55 years or older will have a lien placed on their estate equal to the amount of benefits that are paid on that person’s behalf. In other words, the state can only recover what was actually paid. This means there is no concern that your family will lose your house if Medicaid has a lien for a few thousand dollars and there are other funds in the estate available to pay off that lien.

When the State Makes a Medicaid Estate Recovery Claim

It is also important to understand the timing of how the state collects on its lien. If you are married, no Medicaid estate recovery claim will be made against your personal residence until after your spouse passes away if your spouse is still living in the home. In addition, there are hardship exemptions that make it so the state cannot pursue an estate recovery claim against your home while you have a child under the age of 21 living with you or if you have a child at home who is permanently disabled.

After someone passes away who was on Medicaid, the Department of Health and Welfare may become involved in the probate in order to recover on any lien. If no probate is opened for the deceased person by a family member, the state can actually initiate probate proceedings if necessary. It is a good idea in general to meet with an attorney if you have any questions about probate, but it becomes even more important if there is a potential Medicaid lien involved.

Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney About How Medicaid Might Impact You

Even if you do not think that you or your spouse will necessarily need long-term care in the future, you should talk to your estate planning attorney about Medicaid and how applying for those benefits could impact your estate planning goals. Law firms such as mine offer free consultations to anyone who might have questions about Medicaid and long-term care estate planning. Every family’s situation is unique, but meeting with an attorney with experience in this area should help you make the decisions that will help protect the interests of your loved ones.

Jason M. Gray is an Estate & Long-Term Care Planning, Business Law, and Land Use Attorney with Smith + Malek, PLLC in Coeur d’Alene. If you have questions about these areas of law, contact Jason at 208-215-2411,

This has been presented as general information and not as legal advice. Do not engage in legal decision-making without the advice of a competent attorney after discussion of your specific circumstances.