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Wisconsin Medicaid Estate Recovery Program - Recovery Through Transfers by Affidavit

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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 and appliances.

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 child. 
  • 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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