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Helpful information regarding bankruptcy, estate, social security, and domestic law

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Bond For The Personal Representative:

The personal representative is required to get a bond in order to probate an intestate estate (one with no will). These bonds may be purchased from insurance companies. They are relatively expensive and good for only one year. If the probate is not completed within the year, the bond will need to be renewed at additional cost. Successful completion of the probate does not result in a refund of any portion of the bond.

Not everyone can get such a bond. Persons with a criminal conviction or a poor credit rating are not always eligible. The purpose of the bond is to assure that the personal representative handles the estate properly. The bonding company must pay the estate for any misdeeds of the personal representative. The bonding company may pursue the personal representative for restitution of money paid under the bond for the personal representative's wrongdoing.

The costs of the bonds vary, typically an estate of $125,000 would have a bond of approximately $500.
Most people waive the requirement for posting a bond when they make out their will.

What is TennCare (Medicaid) Estate Recovery?

The State of Tennessee is required by federal and state law to have a program that seeks to recover certain funds paid by the TennCare (Medicaid) program after the person is deceased.
States must pursue recover of costs for medical assistance consisting of:
-Nursing home or other long-term institutional services;
-Home- and community-based services (including home health and private duty nursing);
-Hospital and prescription drug services provided while the person was receiving nursing home or home- and community-based services and;
-At State option, any other items covered by the Medicaid State Plan.

Whose estate is subject to TennCare (Medicaid) Estate Recovery?

The estate of any person age 55 and older for whom TennCare (Medicaid) has paid for nursing home (or other long-term institutional) services or Home and Community Based Services and the estate of any permanently institutionalized individual is subject to TennCare (Medicaid) Estate Recovery. If the estate is not being probated, you do not have to provide the probate court information, but you must obtain a release of TennCare's claim prior to disbursement of funds and/or assets.

Your Funeral Consumer Rights in Tennessee Brochure

Wills and Powers of Attorney

Common Misconceptions About Wills:

  • If I don't have a will, everything will go to the state.

  • Medical providers will discuss my medical situation with my family without a power of attorney.

  • Probate in Tennessee is a very expensive process.

  • Courts often set aside wills.

  • If my property is placed in my children's names, it will be safe.

  • If my property is placed in my children's names, I will be eligible for TennCare for long-term nursing home care.

  • Only property that passes through a will is subject to inheritance tax.

  • I have to leave at least $1.00 to each heir or they can contest my will.

  • A living trust will save money on probate and will be easier for my family to handle.

  • Probate will tie up my property for years.

For answers to these and other questions, call for a free consultation.

What you need to know about power of attorney:

Why is a durable power of attorney important?

  • The durable power of attorney allows you to designate the person or persons you would want to make decisions for you if you are not able to make them yourself.

What is an "agent"?

  • Your "agent" under a financial durable power of attorney can make decisions regarding your physical assets; can pay your bills, cash your checks, etc. This power is put in place when you sign your durable power of attorney.

What is a "health care agent"?

  • Your "health care agent" can make medical decisions for you if you are not able to do so. You may name the same person to serve as both your financial and your health care agent.

What if I have not executed a power of attorney?

  • If you have not made out a power of attorney, your family or others concerned about you will have to file for a conservatorship in court. While this is not a difficult process, it is somewhat costly and cumbersome. The person appointed under the conservatorship will have an obligation to keep track of all expenditures made on your behalf and report annually to the court.

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