If you do an on-line search, you will immediately find websites that will help you create estate planning documents like revocable living trusts and wills. The selling point of these websites is that you will save on legal fees. Accordingly, you do not receive legal representation from these web sites. But, are you being “penny wise and pound foolish” by creating your own on-line estate plan?
In our firm, we do long term care planning and asset protection for the older client. Some of the legal documents that are included in the long term care plan are also revocable living trusts and wills. However, the provisions and language in the documents created by an elder law attorney are quite different from what you will find on line. The documents created by an elder law attorney include mechanisms for asset protection and long term care planning for your care, which can be implemented when needed. As my mother once told me, she wanted a plan that would be effective if she did not die, and became ill along the way.
In California, we have Medi-Cal which will pay for an extended stay in a skilled nursing facility, provided that you have your ducks in a row. There are regulations and codes which you can take advantage of for asset protection and qualification for Medi-Cal. In a properly drafted long term care plan, if you lose mental capacity or otherwise become incapable of handling your own affairs, your fiduciary will be able to take advantage of these codes and Medi-Cal regulations for asset protection and qualification for Medi-Cal. Without a properly drafted long term care plan, you may be required to spend down your assets first, in order to qualify for Medi-Cal. In addition, your home may be left exposed to a Medi-Cal lien for reimbursement to the state after you die. As a result, you may be required to prematurely spend all of your assets to create qualification for Medi-Cal. In addition, you may end up leaving nothing for your family when you die.
Long term care planning is as much for your loved ones as it is for yourself. It is your loved ones who will have to deal with the consequences of your decisions during your life, and after you die. No website that I have observed is capable of giving tailored legal advice for asset protection and long term care planning that can help clients save tens of thousands and in some cases hundreds of thousands of dollars. The old adage, “you get what you pay for,” still holds true.
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, email@example.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.