Recovery Through Transfers by Affidavit
What is the Transfer by Affidavit process?
This is a process that can be used to close a person’s
estate when the deceased has $50,000 or less in assets subject to
administration in Wisconsin. It is an alternative to using a court process
for very small estates. If this process is used, an heir, guardian, trustee
of a revocable trust created by the deceased, or the Department of Health Services may collect the deceased’s assets by submitting an
affidavit to the person or institution possessing those assets. If an heir,
guardian or trustee submits an affidavit to a person or institution, he or
she must send a copy of that affidavit to the Department if the deceased
received any Medicaid benefits. If a piece of real property is being
transferred through the use of an affidavit, the Department may place a lien
on the property. The lien would be satisfied at the time the property is
sold. The Department may not use the transfer by affidavit process to
recover against wearing apparel, jewelry, household furniture, furnishings
When can the state recover the cost of
Medicaid benefits by use of an affidavit?
The state can recover the cost of benefits by use of an affidavit if all of
the following are true:
- The member has no surviving spouse or minor, disabled, or blind
- The member’s property subject to administration in Wisconsin is
valued at $50,000 or less after funeral costs have been paid.
- 20 days have passed since death and no one has petitioned the court to
probate the deceased’s estate.
How does the state recover Medicaid benefits by use
of an affidavit?
If the three conditions listed above are met, the
Department, generally within thirty to sixty days of the receipt of the copy
of the heir, guardian or trustee’s affidavit, will send an affidavit to the
heir, guardian or trustee presenting the state’s claim. Normally, the
Department allows the heir, guardian or trustee to receive the property of
the deceased. The heir, guardian or trustee can then use the property to pay
any funeral costs, costs of administering the estate, and related attorney
fees. Any property remaining after those expenses are paid must be paid to
the state. Receipts of the expenses must be kept and sent to the Department.
Any medical bills (including those from ambulance companies) should not be
paid until after the charges are reviewed and approved by the Estate
Recovery Program staff. Upon transferring all the remaining funds to the
Department, the heir, guardian or trustee is released from any obligation to
other creditors or heirs of the deceased for the property transferred to the
heir, guardian or trustee by the use of the affidavit.
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