Question: My mother spent two months in a nursing home.  Then, her health improved allowing her to return home.  We are applying for Masshealth to pay the bill.  Will Masshealth place a lien on her home?

Answer: Here is the good news: because your Mother spent less than six months in the nursing home, it is considered a short term stay.  As such, Masshealth will not seek recovery of its costs through use of a lien on her home.

Now for the bad news:  Masshealth will seek recovery of its costs from your Mother’s probate estate, after she passes away.

Luckily, there is more good news:  Your Mother can use a basic revocable trust to ensure her assets pass to you outside of probate.  This means, the probate court will not be involved.  Why is this good?  Your Mother’s assets will not be subject to her creditors after death.  Masshealth will be unable to recover their costs, from your Mother’s assets.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices real estate law, estate planning and probate at 630 Boston Road, Billerica, MA. He gladly invites questions at or by phone at 978-671-0711.  His website blog is found at and

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