Lawmakers Call for Repeal of New Wisconsin Death Tax: New law threatens financial security of family farmers and creates potential marriage penalty for seniors.Here's Market to Market on Retiring Farmers:
The state budget signed a month ago included several important changes to the laws giving the state power to collect money and property from families whose loved ones received Medicaid services when they were alive, including the power to file foreclosures on properties. The law changes received no public hearings.
Wisconsin attorneys say the changes will have the effect of encouraging married seniors to get divorced or discouraging single older couples to not get married. The changes may also prevent farming families from passing their farm onto the next generation should the parents need long-term care in the future.
Eau Claire attorney Peter Grosskopf, former chair of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Elder Law Section (said) “The new law makes sweeping changes that will adversely impact family farms and small businesses. It will have the likely effect of encouraging divorces among our elderly because it erodes the spousal impoverishment protections that have existed for decades.”
Rep. Jon Richards (D-Milwaukee), a member of the Joint Finance Committee (said) “The changes could force farmers and seniors all across Wisconsin into having to make terrible choices between their families and their financial security.”
Rep. Gary Hebl (D-Sun Prairie), the ranking Democrat on the Assembly Judiciary Committee, said he was concerned that several of the changes likely violate federal law, according to an analysis by State Bar of Wisconsin. “Experienced elder law attorneys have indicated that several of these new provisions conflict with federal Medicaid law.”
Rep. Dana Wachs (D-Eau Claire) said, “If this is not rolled back, it may become impossible to pass the family farm or small business on to the new generation.”
Richards, Hebl, Wachs, Kahl and Doyle will soon be introducing legislation to restore Wisconsin’s Medicaid estate recovery and divestment laws to their original form before the budget was signed to help Wisconsin seniors, farmers and their families.