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  • PART I ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT
  • TITLE XVII PUBLIC WELFARE
  • CHAPTER 118E DIVISION OF MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
  • Section 32 Provision of death certificate and probate petition to division; liability of estate beneficiaries; claims against estate; sale or transfer of property subject to lien or claim

Section 32. (a) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a petition for admission to probate of a decedent’s will or for administration of a decedent’s estate shall include a sworn statement that copies of said petition and death certificate have been sent to the division by certified mail. Within 30 days of a request by the division, an executor or administrator shall complete and send to the division by certified mail a form prescribed by the division and provide such further information as the division may require.

In the event a petitioner fails to send copies of the petition and death certificate to the division and the decedent received medical assistance for which the division is authorized to recover under section thirty-one, any person receiving a distribution of assets from the decedent’s estate shall be liable to the division to the extent of such distribution.

(b) The division may present claims against a decedent’s estate as follows: (1) within four months after approval of the official bond of the executor or administrator, file a written statement of the amount claimed with the registry of probate where the petition was filed and deliver or mail a copy thereof to the executor or administrator. The claim shall be deemed presented upon the filing of the claim in the registry of probate; or (2) within one year after date of death of the decedent, commence an action under the provisions of section 9 of chapter 197.

(c) When presenting its claim by written statement under subsection (b), the division shall also notify the executor or administrator of (1) the circumstances and conditions which must exist for the division to be required to defer recovery under section 31 and (2) the circumstances and conditions which must exist for the division to waive recovery under its regulations for undue hardship.

(d) The executor or administrator shall have 60 days from the date of presentment to mail notice to the division by certified mail of one or more of the following findings: (1) the claim is disallowed in whole or in part, or (2) circumstances and conditions where the division is required to defer recovery under section 31 exist, or (3) circumstances and conditions where the division will waive recovery for undue hardship under its regulations exist. A notice under clause (2) or (3) shall state the specific circumstances and conditions which exist and provide supporting documentation satisfactory to the division. Failure to mail notice under clause (1) shall be deemed an allowance of the claim. Failure to mail notice under clause (2) shall be deemed an admission that the circumstances or conditions where the division is required to defer recovery under section 31 do not exist. Failure to mail notice under clause (3) shall be deemed an admission that the circumstances and conditions for the division to waive recovery for undue hardship under its regulations do not exist.

(e) If the division at any time within the period for presenting claims under subsection (b) amends the amount due, the executor or administrator shall have an additional 60 days to mail notice to the division under clause 1 of subsection (d).

(f) If the division receives a disallowance under clause (1) of subsection (d), the division may commence an action to enforce its claim in a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days after receipt of said notice of disallowance. If the division receives a notice under clause (2) or (3) of said subsection (d), with which it disagrees, the division may commence an action in a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days after receipt of said notice. If the division fails to commence an action after receiving a notice under clause (2) of said subsection (d), the division shall defer recovery while the circumstances or conditions specified in said notice continue to exist. If the division fails to commence an action after receiving a notice under clause (3) of said subsection (d), the division shall waive recovery for undue hardship.

(g) Unless otherwise provided in any judgment entered, claims allowed pursuant to this section shall bear interest at the rate provided under section 6B of chapter 231 commencing four months plus 60 days after approval of the official bond of the executor or administrator.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the division fails to commence an action after receipt of a notice under clause (2) of subsection (d), interest at the rate provided under section 6B of chapter 231 shall not commence until the circumstances or conditions specified in the notice received by the division under said clause (2) cease to exist. The executor or administrator shall notify the division within 30 calendar days of any change in the circumstances or conditions asserted in said clause (2) notice, and upon request by the division, shall provide updated documentation verifying that the circumstances or conditions continue to exist.

If the division’s claim has been allowed as provided herein and no circumstances and conditions requiring that the division defer recovery under section 31 exist, it may petition the probate court for an order directing the executor or administrator to pay the claim to the extent that funds are available or for such further relief as may be required.

(h) Notice of a petition by an executor or administrator for a license to sell real estate shall be given to the division in any estate where:

(1) the division has filed a written statement of claim with the registry of probate as provided in subsection (b); or

(2) the division has filed with the registry of probate a notice, as prescribed under subsection (a) of section 9 of chapter 197, that an action has been commenced.

(i) In all cases where:-

(1) the division determines it may have a claim against a decedent’s estate;

(2) a petition for administration of the decedent’s estate or for admission to probate of the decedent’s will has not been filed; and

(3) more than one year has passed from the decedent’s date of death, the division is hereby authorized to designate a public administrator to be appointed and to serve pursuant to chapter 194. Said designation by the division shall include a statement of the amount claimed. This provision shall apply to all estates in which no petition for administration of the decedent’s estate or for admission to probate of the decedent’s will has been filed as of the effective date of this section, regardless of the decedent’s date of death.

(j) If the executor or administrator wishes to sell or transfer any real property against which the division has filed a lien or claim not yet enforceable because circumstances or conditions specified in section 31 continue to exist, the division shall release the lien or claim if the executor or administrator agrees to (1) either set aside sufficient assets to satisfy the lien or claim, or to give bond to the division with sufficient surety or sureties and (2) repay the division as soon as the circumstances or conditions which resulted in the lien or claim not yet being enforceable no longer exist. Notwithstanding the foregoing provision or any general or special law to the contrary, the division and the parties to the sale may by agreement enter into an alternative resolution of the division’s lien or claim.