Jan
12
2015
0

2015 CA Medi-Cal Quick Reference Guide

The State of California has changed some of the Medi-Cal qualification figures and requirements for 2015. A brief listing of these changes and requirements is set forth below:

Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA)

$119,220

This is the amount that the community, or (at home) well spouse can retain in liquid assets. This amount does not include exempt assets, such as the home and qualified accounts, such as IRA’s.

Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA)

$2,981

This is the minimum amount of income the well spouse can keep.

Average Private Pay Rate – Divestment Penalty Divisor – (APPR)

$7,628

This is the amount the State pays to nursing homes on the Medi-Cal program, minus a share of cost by the applicant. This figure is also used to calculate penalty periods of ineligibility for Medi-Cal.

Applicant Resource Allowance

$2,000

The applicant can keep this amount in cash, checking, etc.

Monthly Personal Needs Allowance

$35

The amount of income the ill person is allowed to keep.


Jan
02
2015
0

Treatment of The Home With Reverse Mortgages By Medi-Cal

Under the Medi-Cal regulations, it is fairly easy for us to establish the home as an “exempt asset” for qualification for Medi-Cal. The usual way is to confirm “an intent to return home” by the Medi-Cal applicant. The next task is to protect the home from a Medi-Cal lien if you pass away after having been on Medi-Cal. If you die after having been on Medi-Cal, and you are still on title to the home, Medi-Cal can put a lien on your home to recover the payments they have made to the nursing home. If you are not on title to the home when you die, Medi-Cal cannot pursue recoupment against your home. After we confirm the home as an “exempt asset”, we can transfer the home to another person without penalty under the Medi-Cal regulations. You can always transfer the home to your spouse without penalty. The goal is to keep the home as a legacy in your estate without it going to the state.

If you have a reverse mortgage on your home, it may become difficult for you to transfer title of the home to another person without triggering the due on transfer clause under the mortgage. This means that the loan could be due and payable upon the transfer. Also, if you go into a nursing home for an extended period of time, the reverse mortgage can become due and payable, and the home could be sold under the terms of the reverse mortgage. Any proceeds from the sale that you realize may make you ineligible for Medi-Cal benefits.

A reverse mortgage on your home is sometimes a good option for the older person. However, please keep in mind that it may not be such a good option if you could go into a nursing home in the foreseeable future. You should seek the advice of your elder law attorney for a full discussion of protecting the home, before committing to a reverse mortgage.

For additional information, you can contact your elder law attorney Michael J. Young. This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the law offices of Michael J. Young, 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, 925-256-0298,lawyoung1@gmail.com, we practice elder law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with Sustainable Estate Planning TM, long term care planning, asset protection plans, special needs trusts, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order to help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit.

Oct
06
2014
0

Little Known Law May Help Seniors Pay for Long Term Care

On August 17, 2006, the President signed into law The Pension Protection Act of 2006. This law, which came into effect in 2010, can be very helpful to Baby Boomers and older clients who are looking for ways to private pay for long term care without coming up with additional funds.

Many of our clients own annuity contracts, and this law allows them to add long term care riders for an additional premium. The Pension Protection Act allows the cash value of annuity contracts to be used to pay the premiums for these long term care riders. The payment of premiums in this manner also has a tax benefit in that it will reduce the cost basis of the annuity contract.

The act also allows for the purchase of an annuity contract with a long term care rider by using cash in another annuity. By utilizing a Section 1035 tax-free transfer, you can purchase the new contract with a long term care rider without paying capital gains on the cash transfer.

Another option under the act for some clients, is to use the accumulated cash value in an annuity to purchase long-term care insurance through a § 1035 exchange. Other premium sources for long-term insurance can be by way of a § 1035 exchange. You can also utilize after tax money, such as savings or money market accounts or CD’s to purchase long term care insurance or life insurance with long term care riders.

For additional information, you can contact your elder law attorney Michael J. Young. This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the law offices of Michael J. Young, 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, 925-256-0298,lawyoung1@gmail.com, we practice elder law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long term care planning, asset protection plans, special needs trusts, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order to help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit.

May
20
2014
0

Hiring Home Health Aides:

As part of the Elder Care Journey as we call it, many of our clients will eventually need in-home-care. Our clients want to stay at home but will need help with various activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, ambulating and toileting. In fact, our estate planning documents usually confirm an intent to remain home for care for our clients, and an intent to return home after a stay in a skilled nursing facility. The issue then becomes whether you should hire the in-home-care aide through a home care agency or should you hire the aide directly.

Please keep in mind that the aide who will be helping your Mother for instance, will be coming into your Mother’s home, and will be left alone in the home with her for long periods of time. You should avoid risks regarding the aide as best as you can. Health Care Agencies pre-qualify their aides, and do background checks before hiring. Their aides are also bonded. Most of our clients and their families maintain a better comfort level and peace of mind when they hire an aide through a health care agency.

With regard to proof of spending issues for qualification for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit, the fact that you are using an agency creates a much smoother application process. The agreement you have with the agency and proof of payment to them is usually sufficient proof for Medi-Cal and VA. When cash payments are made to an individual, who may also be undocumented, it is much more difficult to obtain these benefits.

Another issue to be concerned with is the IRS and who does the tax reporting and wage withholding for wages paid to the aide. If you are hiring an aide through an agency, you do not face these additional issues. I am not sure that the IRS would become involved, but you have enough to worry about, dealing with the issues of being older and needing care, without worrying about the IRS.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, special needs trusts, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Apr
28
2014
0

Special Needs Trust & Inheritance & Workshop 5-8-2014

Special Needs Trusts and Inheritance:

Q: Our father just passed away and left $400,000 in his revocable living trust to myself and my brother. My brother is on SSI and will lose his benefit when he receives the inheritance. What should we do?

 A. There is a remedy for this problem when someone dies, and their revocable living trust does not have a special needs trust provision for a special needs beneficiary. Under the law, the revocable living trust became irrevocable when your father died. As a result, it is too late for you to amend the trust to include a Special Needs Trust for your brother.

 However, the California Probate Code does allow the Court to amend the trust to include a special needs trust upon a petition to the Court from the special needs beneficiary. The special needs beneficiary files a petition with the court requesting that the trust be modified to include a special needs trust for himself for his part of the inheritance. Your brother, who will be the petitioner, will tell the court in the petition that had your father gone to an elder law attorney who would have advised your father about the addition to his revocable living trust of a special needs trust for your brother, that your father would have requested that addition.

The courts have been willing to grant these petitions. After the court signs its order for the modification of your father’s trust, the inheritance for your brother will flow into his new Special Needs Trust and he will not lose his public benefits. Your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney can advise you and help you in the preparation of a petition for the modification of a revocable living trust after the maker of the trust dies.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, special needs trusts, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Apr
17
2014
0

Special Needs Trusts For Children

A number of our clients have “special needs” children who are presently receiving public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medi-Cal. Other clients have “special needs” children who may need public benefits later in life. These public benefit programs have asset limits. Many times the children who are receiving public benefits become settled in their lifestyles regarding their living arrangements and working requirements. They usually do not want to lose these benefits and have their lifestyles disrupted by receiving an inheritance when their parents or grand parents pass away.

The parents and grandparents want to preserve the family wealth for all of their children and grandchildren, and do not want to disinherit a child. There is a remedy for this problem, and that is the creation of a supplemental special needs trust. This trust is written into the revocable living trust of the parents or grandparents as part of their estate plan. The share of the inheritance for the special needs child will go into the supplemental special needs trust upon the passing of the parents or grand parents for the benefit of the special needs child.

The overall goal of the supplemental special needs trust is to provide for the needs of the special needs child that are not being met by government benefits. The life of the special needs child can be enhanced by providing for better care, supplemental medical needs, supplemental therapies, recreational opportunities and other living enhancements. The wealth of the family can thereby be preserved, and when the special needs child passes away, his or her share of the inheritance can go to his children or to other family members.

The language in the supplemental special needs trust must be very specific in order for the child to keep the public benefits and yet benefit from the trust. First, the child must not be the trustee, and may not have legal access to the funds in the trust. Another person must be named as trustee. The terms of the trust direct that any distributions from the trust must be in compliance with the Supplemental Security Income, Medi-Cal or other government benefits regulations, so that benefits are not disrupted. The trust must also be drafted in such a way as to avoid any recoupment by Medi-Cal after the special needs child passes away. Your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney can advise you and help you in the preparation of a supplemental special needs trust.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Mar
11
2014
0

No Look Back Period for VA Aid & Attendance

There will NOT be a look-back gifting penalty period for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. On February 27, 2014, Senate Bill 1982, known as The Veterans Pension Protection Act, did not get the required votes to pass. One of the purposes of this bill, which also contained other provisions, was to help curtail some of the backlog at the VA for processing this benefit.

 Unlike Medi-Cal, VA does not have a look-back gifting penalty period for qualification for the Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. As a result, you can theoretically gift all of your assets away today, and be eligible for this VA benefit tomorrow with no gifting penalty. California however has a 30 month look back penalty period for gifting for eligibility for Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays for nursing home costs, minus a share of cost contribution by the recipient.

 A problem has been that the 30 month look back penalty rules for Medi-Cal have often been ignored when large gifts have been made for qualification for Aid & Attendance. The result has been that if you make a big gift today in order to receive this VA benefit, you may have created a long period of ineligibility for Medi-Cal, by not following the Medi-Cal gifting regulations. Your elder law attorney will advise that any gifting made for qualification for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension benefit should coincide with the Medi-Cal gifting rules.

 If Senate Bill 1982 had passed, any gifts made within the last three years would be reported, and a penalty for eligibility would attach.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Jan
28
2014
0

Financial Durable Powers of Attorney for Baby Boomers and Seniors Can Now Provide for Long Term Care Planning and Asset Protection

Financial Durable Powers of Attorney (Fin. DPA’s) for Baby Boomers and Seniors can provide for asset protection and government benefits planning. The language we use in Fin. DPA’s for long term care planning for baby boomers and seniors is very different from the language we see in the plain vanilla Fin. DPA’s which most people have.

Baby Boomers and seniors usually want to get our ducks in a row for possible qualification for Medi-Cal, which can help pay for our skilled nursing home stay if we run out of Medicare days. In addition, for wartime veterans, we want to get our ducks in a row for possible qualification for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit which can help pay for in home care and the cost of assisted living facilities. If we lose mental capacity, these extraordinary powers will allow your attorney in fact in your Fin. DPA, such as your spouse or child, to follow through with asset protection and government benefits planning according to your wishes.

The Uniform Statutory Form Power of Attorney that many people already have, does not contain the required language for asset protection. And, the majority of attorney created Fin. DPAs do not have this requisite language. As a result, if you become incapacitated and you do not have the requisite language in your Fin. DPA, your agent may be powerless to follow your wishes for asset protection.

For instance, we may want to transfer (transmute) the title of our home from the ill spouse to the well spouse, or to a child, during our lives, for asset protection purposes. For many of our clients, the home is their largest asset. Most of our clients want their home to ultimately transfer to their children without government liens attaching. They also want their children or heirs to receive the home with a full step up in basis when they die, so that there will be no capital gains to pay if the home is sold upon the death of the maker of the Fin. DPA.

Most Fin. DPAs do NOT have this specialized language which is required to accomplish these goals . In addition, for long term care planning, the language in the Fin. DPA is coordinated with the language in the revocable living trust, to provide additional options for asset protection. You should contact your elder law attorney for advice for long term care planning and to review your existing estate plan.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers, Seniors and families through their Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Jan
20
2014
0

7 Practical Considerations To Take Into Account When Choosing an Assisted Living Facility

Here are 7 Practical Considerations to take into account when you are choosing an assisted living facility, either for yourself or a loved one. We have developed this list  after having first hand experience with assisted living facilities that my father lived in, and after having interacted with our clients regarding these issues over many years.

  1. Is the facility well regarded in the community? Has it been recommended to you by someone who has had a loved one or friend there?
  2. Would the friends and family members of the resident be able to visit at any time, or are there restrictions in this regard?
  3. Is the facility in close proximity to the hospital and medical offices that the resident may need to visit?
  4. How were you treated by the staff and the administrator when you visited the facility? Did you feel welcome and were you comfortable with the experience?
  5. Were all of your questions answered satisfactorily when you visited the facility? Were you left in doubt or were you confused about any of their answers?
  6. Did you feel that you or your loved one would fit into the community for an extended period of time?
  7. Could you imaging yourself or your loved one living there?

* This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers and families through the Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Sep
23
2013
0

My Dad Has Alzheimer’s and Should Not Be Driving

The troubling issue of how to keep a loved one who has Alzheimer’s from driving comes up often. The independence we all enjoy from driving a car is extraordinary, and most of us, including our parents, have been driving since we were teenagers. When confronted, our parents will be the first to lecture us, with anger, that they have been driving since well before we were born, and that they are just fine. An Alzheimer’s patient however will probably not be able to comprehend the danger of getting behind the wheel. When we have conversations with family members about how to handle this issue, it is usually coupled with a story about how Dad hit something or knocked something over with his car, but that no was hurt this time.

 There are things you can do. Blatantly taking the keys away with a lecture is one approach, but can create resentment and anger. However, taking the keys away or “losing them” may be necessary when weighed against public safety. Psychologists who deal with Alzheimer’s patients say however that it may be better to create a diversion. One son of an Alzheimer’s parent told me that he parked one of his older cars in his Dad’s driveway so that his Dad could not back out. The son told his Dad that he could not start his car when trying to leave and was trying to fix it, and that he was calling his brother to pick him up. When his Dad would bring up the issue and tell his son to get his car out of the driveway, his son would change the subject. Or he would tell his Dad that he was still working on trying to find an after-market fuel pump for the car but was having a hard time. The son would then bring up another subject like what would his Dad like for dinner.

 Another approach is to write to the Department of Motor Vehicles about your parent’s Alzheimer’s condition or fill out a Request for Driver Reexamination form. The DMV will keep your request confidential at your request. You can also ask your father’s M.D. to fill out the form.  

 This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law and we help Baby Boomers and families through the Elder Care Journey. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help Baby Boomers and families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

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