Jun
18
2010
0

Veterans Benefits For The Surviving Spouse

The surviving spouse of a wartime Veteran may be eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. This benefit can help pay the costs of in home care, board and care and assisted living facilities for the surviving spouse. We must be able to show that the surviving spouse had been married to the Veteran for at least one year, or had children by the Veteran if married less than one year.

The surviving spouse is not eligible if he/she has remarried. Also, the surviving spouse must have been living with the Veteran at the time of the Veteran’s death, unless they were separated because of  medical or military reasons. The Veteran must have a discharge from the military that is other than dishonorable.  The pension rate for the surviving spouse may be as much as $1,056 per month, or $12,681 per year. 

Each VA claim is different and unique, and there are never any guarantees that any claim will be granted by the VA. When we plan for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, we also plan for Medi-Cal at the same time. Both benefits have different qualification rules, which must be coordinated.

This blog is general in nature, is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young, who also advises on Medi-Cal qualification, asset protection, nursing homes and the VA Aid & Attendance qualification, serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in CA, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc.

Jun
15
2010
0

Update The Language In Your Estate Planning Documents for Asset Protection

The language used in estate planning documents for asset protection and government benefits planning for the older client, is very different from the language used in regular estate planning documents. In fact, I would say that 90% or more of all revocable living trusts and financial durable powers of attorney do not contain the right language, and are defective for this type of planning, if the maker or one of the makers of the documents loses mental capacity.

As an example, if we are going to protect the home from a Medi-Cal lien, because of an imminent stay in a nursing home, we may want to transfer the ill spouse’s interest in the home to the well spouse. Or, in the case of a single person, we may want to transfer that person’s interest in the home to a child. Or, we may want to liquidate the cash in value of a life insurance policy, and gift that interest to a spouse or a child.

If the person who owns the interest has lost capacity to make the transfer, the language in the trust and financial durable power of attorney, in most cases, does not allow for this type of transfer. As a result, we may have to go to court to obtain an order to reform the estate planning documents. This process can be costly.

The alternative is to do pre-planning, and have the revocable living trust and financial durable powers of attorney updated by an elder law lawyer, who practices in the areas of Medi-Cal planning, VA planning and nursing home planning. By doing pre-planning, and including the correct language in these documents, we can save costs and headaches later on.       

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law, asset protection and government benefits attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning.

Jun
15
2010
0

Plan For Medi-Cal And VA At The Same Time

When we plan for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, we plan for Medi-Cal at the same time. Medi-Cal and the VA benefit are both asset and income based programs. Medi-Cal pays for the costs of skilled nursing facilities, minus the share of cost paid by the recipient. The VA benefit can help pay for the costs of assisted living facilities, board and care facilities, and in home care costs. Under both programs, if the applicant is “over assets”, they can spend down, gift some of their assets away, or use other legitimate asset protection techniques to obtain qualification. 

The VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit program does not have a “look back” penalty period. The applicant could give away $50,000 for instance, today, and theoretically be eligible for the VA benefit tomorrow. If the same applicant then went to apply for Medi-Cal, after having gifted the $50,000, there would be an eight month penalty period. Divide $50,000 by $5,698 (penalty divisor) and you have 8.775 or, rounded down, eight months of ineligibility. As a result, the applicant would not be eligible for Medi-Cal for eight months.

There are legitimate gifting and planning techniques which your elder law attorney can show you to  create fewer months of ineligibiity for Medi-Cal. Remember that Medi-Cal pays for skilled nursing, which is much more expensive than assisted living facilities. Planning for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit at the same time, is good planning. Your Medi-Cal, elder law attorney can help you with this.

 Written Michael J. Young, elder law and asset protection attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa County and Alameda County, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Medi-Cal Attorney Contra Costa.

Jun
14
2010
0

Which one do you like better?

As an elder law attorney, I like to ask my clients to tell me stories about their lives. One of the funniest stories was told to me by a lady in her 90’s. She told me that on one Saturday morning at about 6:00 a.m., she and her husband could hear her two boys, who were about three or four years old, whispering to each other at the foot of their parents’ bed. Looking at their parents in bed, one child asked the other, “Which one do you like better?” I thought this was hilarious.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young, who also advises on Medi-Cal qualification, asset protection and VA Aid & Attendance qualification, serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc.

Jun
14
2010
0

Rosie the Riveter

I always ask my clients if they are veterans, so that we can talk about planning for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. An older couple came to see me about Medi-Cal planning, and the husband told me that he was in the Navy during WWII, stationed in San Diego. The wife told me that she is not a veteran, but she asked me if I have ever heard of Rosie the Riveter. I said yes, of course, and she said that was her! She admitted though that she was not the famous Rosie on the posters. She told me that she worked for an aircraft company in Southern California during WWII, and worked her way up to an inspector of electrical wiring for military aircraft.

The husband could of course be eligible for the Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. In addition, if he were to pass away, his wife could be eligible for this benefit, as the surviving spouse of a war time veteran.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young, who also advises on Medi-Cal qualification and asset protection, serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc.

Jun
14
2010
0

Elder Abuse in California

The California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15610.07 defines elder abuse as follows:

“Abuse of an elder or a dependent adult” means either of the following:

(a) Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering.

(b) The deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering.

In addition, the California Penal Code, Section 368 provides for criminal penalties for elder abuse, against someone who willfully causes or permits an elder to suffer, or inflicts unjustifiable physical pain or mental suffering on the older person.

Examples of elder abuse could include physical injury, broken bones, unusual bruises and, bedsores. In addition, social isolation, abandonment and financial abuse can be forms of elder abuse.

Persons who provide care for elders, whether licensed or not, are mandated to report elder abuse.  In addition, any private citizen can report elder abuse.  You can report abuse by calling (APS) Adult Protective Services or by calling 911.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, elder law and asset protection attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. 925-256-0298. Mr. Young serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. His practice includes Medi-Cal qualification for nursing homes, elder law, asset protection and estate planning for seniors.

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