Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Troy v. Hart case brief

Troy v. Hart case brief summary
116 Md. App. 468

SYNOPSIS: Appellant attorney-in-fact filed an action in the orphans' court against appellee representative seeking to rescind decedent's renunciation and disclaimer of his inheritance under his sister's estate. The orphans' court denied the petition and upon review the Circuit Court for Washington County (Maryland) affirmed. The attorney-in-fact appealed.

OVERVIEW: While decedent was a Medicaid patient in a hospice facility and while he was being represented by the attorney-in-fact, the representative of decedent's sister's estate, procured from the decedent a renunciation and disclaimer of his inheritance. The attorney-in-fact sought to have the renunciation rescinded.

The court found that the representative, who was another of decedent's sisters, did not take advantage of a confidential relationship because there was no suggestion of mental incompetence on the part of the decedent.

The court found that the decedent's application for Medicaid did not bar operation of the disclaimer under Md. Code Ann., Est. & Trusts § 9-205 because the application was neither an assignment to the state of decedent's rights to the inheritance nor an encumbrance with regard to the inheritance. However, the court found that the decedent violated his duty as a recipient of Medicaid to inform the state of any change in his financial status and that the state had an equitable claim against the deceased sister's estate for any money improperly paid as a result of the violation of this duty.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the decision of the lower court in favor of the representative.

Troy v. Hart (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 1997) [19 CB 136]: Disclaimant, resident in a hospice paid for my Medicare and Medicaid, disclaimed an intestate share in order to avoid losing Medicaid eligibility.  Rule: Disclaimant had a legal obligation to notify Medicaid regarding his equitable interest in the disclaimed property.  Although the disclaimer is valid under MD law, a constructive trust is imposed in favor of Medicaid b/c otherwise unjust enrichment will result.

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