Must the contents of a house be sold to repay Medicaid for Nursing home care?

This is a small town and there has been a delay in determining items of value in the estate due to the virus.  

Let's say Medicaid is owed $80,000 for Nursing home care but the house itself is likely to only sell for maybe $20,000, will the contents of the house need to be sold to repay Medicaid?  

Family doesn't want an estate sale and they are asking to divide items from the house.  So far only myself, my uncle and my dad have entered the house.  At this point, we don't know what Grandma's cast iron skillet, silver flatware or he old singer sewing machine is worth.  I have a list of what everyone wants from the house and I now have to determine if I am legally allowed to let them have what they want or if the items must be sold.  

Grandpa put my name on the house as a life estate and I was made executor of the estate.  Medicaid has not put a lien on the house, but a lawyer I talked to said the house would need to be sold along with the contents to satisfy Medicaid.  The estate becomes insolvent no matter how much everything sells for.

My uncle asked me if items were removed from the house, who would know?  Say I took Grandma's Wagner cast iron skilled and replaced it with a cheap one, who would know?  


The sad thing, if I turn everything over to the local auction company, they will come clean out the house then sell everything to the highest bidder.  The $1,000 chandelier in the living room might sell for $50 and the grandfather clock that's been around since the beginning of time might sell for $10.  

3 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Check with a lawyer, but if you remove some objects whose value is primarily sentimental, then you aren't depriving Medicare of anything.

    If you document the objects being given to family members, Medicare might come back demanding repayment for the wedding photo. (value on the open market ~ 3¢)

    Or, alternately, you could buy those items from the estate (at the market value of 3¢) and turn that money over to Medicare.

    Getting ahold of the sentimental items should be easyily done, if done properly. Consult your lawyer.

  • 2 months ago

    The estate owes he debt.  Yes, that can include all the stuff.

  • Kevin
    Lv 4
    2 months ago

    idk but make sure that the nursing home isn't burned down by the protestors across the country 

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