Medicaid may initiate a claim against a recepient’s inheritance. This is true even when the inheritance is from the Medicaid recipient’s spouse, and may happen whether or not there is a will. Medicaid may also initiate a claim against a spouse of a Medicaid receipent who signed a spousal refusal.
Even if the Medicaid recipient is not in the spouse’s will, Medicaid still has the right to assert a claim, by claiming the Medicaid recipient’s elective share, which can be up to one third (1/3) of the estate. Being sued by Medicaid is still better then private-paying for nursing home care – payment is delayed, the claim is at the Medicaid rate not the private-pay rate, and Meddicaid is easier to settle with the nursing homes that can just not admit you.
it is better to avoid a DSS lawsuit by properly planning for Medicaid. For someone who is already facing such a lawsuit, a qualified New York estate attorney will defend the claim and usually settle with the DSS for a percentage of the claimed amount.