Jun
01
2017
0

Medi-Cal Qualification and Joint Accounts

If you are applying for Medi-Cal, you will be required to disclose all of your assets in your application package. Medi-Cal wants to see evidence of all of your accounts, even joint accounts that you may have with someone else. Joint accounts will be considered by Medi-Cal, at least initially, to belong to you alone. So for instance, if you have a joint savings account with your daughter, Medi-Cal will view that account as belonging to you alone. As a result, the value of the account may disqualify you for Medi-Cal.

You may be able to remedy the situation if you can prove to Medi-Cal that all or a portion of the fund does not belong to you. You can also spend the money in the account on yourself, make repairs to your home, pay down your mortgage, etc. You may also be able to gift the money, or a portion of it from the account. As we have explained in previous blogs however, gifting can create periods of ineligibility for Medi-Cal if it is not done correctly.

Planning for asset protection and Medi-Cal with your estate planning and asset protection attorney at an early stage, can be very beneficial. Your revocable living trust and financial durable powers of attorney can also be amended to have the required gifting and asset protection provisions for Medi-Cal qualification, should you become incapable at some point of handling these matters on your own.

Please feel free to contact our office should you need help with estate planning, applying for Medi-Cal and asset protection. 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 the older client and their families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

May
31
2017
0

California Still Has A 30 Month Look Back for Gifting

California still has the 30 Month Look Back Penalty Period for Gifting. There is a federal law known as the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), which has a 60 month look back penalty period. However, California has not to date implemented that law. Medi-Cal eligibility workers are required to use the 30 month look back period.

When you apply for Medi-Cal, the application asks whether you have given away any countable, or non-exempt assets within the last 30 months. If you have made such a gift without consideration, or for less than fair market value within the 30 months prior to making the application, a penalty period of ineligibility may be imposed. Transfers of any kind between spouses are exempt and do not create any periods of ineligibility.

The penalty transfer amount, which is also known as the monthly average nursing home private pay rate, is presently $8,515. The penalty period starts when the transfer is made, as opposed to when you make the Medi-Cal application. To calculate the penalty period, first check to see if it was made more than 30 months prior to making the Medi-Cal application. If more than 30 months have passed, there is no penalty.

Lets assume however that you have gifted $50,000 to your grandchild on October 1, 2016, and that you are applying for Medi-Cal on January 1, 2017. The gift was made 3 months prior to the application, so the 30 month look back penalty rule applies. You then divide $50,000 by $8,515, which reflects 5.87, which is rounded down to 5 months of ineligibility, starting from the date of the transfer. As a result, you would be ineligible for Medi-Cal during the months of October, when the gift was made, November, December, January and February, but you would be eligible March 1, 2017. There are of course other rules to consider, which may be to your benefit, which your elder law attorney can help you with.

Please feel free to contact our office should you need help with applying for Medi-Cal, and asset protection. 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 the older client and their families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Mar
15
2016
0

Medi-Cal and Life Insurance Recovery

If you die after having been on Medi-Cal, the state can only recover what is left in your estate at the time of your death. Whatever is in your revocable living trust when you die, is recoverable by Medi-Cal because that is part of your estate. That is why we reserve powers in the revocable living trust and financial powers of attorney to transfer assets out of your trust during your life in order to avoid state recovery.

If you have life insurance and you die, your beneficiary, such as your spouse or a child, will receive the death benefit. This death benefit to your spouse or child is not recoverable by Medi-Cal. However, if you name your revocable living trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, the death benefit will be funded into your revocable living trust when you die. This death benefit will be “in your estate” when you die, and therefore recoverable by Medi-Cal. As a result, if you think you may be applying for Medi-Cal at some date in the future, you should name a person or persons to be the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

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
25
2016
0

Plan For Incapacity Now

Planning for incapacity should take place now, while you still have good mental capacity. If you lose mental capacity, you will not be able to make good decisions regarding your financial and personal affairs. For seniors, incapacity can occur for instance, as the result of a head trauma, dementia or as a consequence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

If you have not planned properly for incapacity, your loved ones or friends may not be able to help pay your bills and make financial and health care decisions for you. In addition, your loved ones and friends may not be able to protect your assets and help you qualify for Medi-Cal or the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit.

You should also decide now who you would trust to make financial decisions for you, and who you would trust to make health care decisions for you. These can be different people.

Your elder law and asset protection attorney will help you set up a Long Term Care Plan to handle these issues in the event you lose capacity. Your Long Term Care Plan will direct how your assets will be distributed when you die. And if you don’t die, and become ill, your Long Term Care Plan will provide directions for your long term care, will help preserve your assets and “get your ducks in a row” for asset protection and your qualification for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit.

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.

Nov
25
2015
0

Governor Brown Signs The End Of Life Options Bill

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law the AB-15 End of Life Options bill on October 5, 2015.  This is landmark legislation which allows patients who are terminally ill to receive lethal medications to end their lives at a time they choose. The law will become effective at a date to be announced during 2016. The bill ends with a sunset date of January 1, 2026, unless extended.

The bill states in part that “… an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life. The bill would establish the procedures for making these requests.”

In his signing statement, Governor Brown lamented that, “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I won’t deny that right to others.”

For additional information please feel free to contact our office. 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
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.

Sep
29
2014
0

An Interesting Insurance Based Strategy To Help Private Pay For Long Term Care

Our clients are concerned about how they will private pay for their long term care. Most long term care takes place first in our homes and then in assisted living facilities. We have Medi-Cal in California, but it only pays for a stay in a skilled nursing facility, if we qualify. As a result, our clients are always asking, “How can we private pay for our long term are if we do not go into a nursing home?”

This strategy may be appropriate for individuals who do not want to pay premiums to purchase long term care insurance policies. People have become reluctant to purchase long term care insurance because of the cost, and because of the fact that if you do not use it, your investment by way of premiums paid is lost. In addition, long term care insurance companies have been known to raise the premiums of its insureds over time.

Many of our clients take the position that they will “self-insure”, using their savings for their care. For these individuals, one effective planning approach may be to leverage some of their savings that they would use for their care in the future to provide a larger pool of money. This money can be utilized to pay for care in the home, assisted living facility or nursing home. If the money is not needed, it would then pass to their children or heirs.

To employ this strategy, money is transferred from its current location (bank account, older fixed annuity past the penalty period, etc.) into a specially designed life insurance policy with riders that allow accelerated payment of a large portion of the death benefit to the policy owner upon a qualified health event, to help pay for the costs of long term care.

Depending on the age and health status, the lump sum premium paid into this type of life insurance policy may provide a death benefit of double or more that amount. However, if the insured qualifies to begin using the long term care benefits, the insured may receive as much as five times the amount of the original premium. Any monies not used for convalescent care would still pass to the heirs upon the death of the insured.

When your elder law attorney prepares your long term care estate plan, ask him to explore this possibility with you.

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.

Aug
04
2014
0

One Unique Way You Can Use Your Own Funds To Help Pay For Your Long Term Care Is To Convert Your Life Insurance Policy Into a Life Care Funding Trust

As we have discussed in the past, there are 3 ways to pay for long term care. 1) You can use your own money; 2) You can use your long term care insurance if you have it; 3) You can utilize the VA Aid & Attendance program to help pay for in home care and the cost of assisted living facilities, and you can use Medi-Cal to help pay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility . 

Most of our clients are not Veterans or the surviving spouses of veterans, and cannot tap into the VA Aid & Attendance program to help pay for in home care and assisted living facilities. Others may never need to go into a nursing home and  utilize Medi-Cal. In addition, as it turns out, most of our clients do not have long term care insurance, and they find long term care insurance to be either impossible or too cost prohibitive to obtain. 

Government benefits are available, but may become more difficult to obtain in the future. California will soon adopt the Deficit Reduction Act, which will make Medi-Cal eligibility more difficult. Medi-Cal can pay for your stay in a skilled nursing facility. VA will probably institute a look-back penalty period for gifting, and make that benefit more difficult to obtain.

Also, many Assisted Living Facilities now offer several  levels of care including independent living, custodial care and care in memory wings. If you could utilize your own funds for the cost of the assisted living facility, you would probably like to stay there for as long as possible.

One way you can use you our own funds to pay for your long term care, is to possibly convert your life insurance policy into a Life Care Funding Trust. Some of our clients have asked whether they should let their life insurance premiums lapse, as part of budgeting for the cost of their long term care. Premiums on life insurance policies have typically been made for many years, and it would be a shame to let the policy lapse without a benefit to you.  

 We can explore whether your life insurance policy has a value that can be converted to a long term care benefit. As part of the process, we will present a copy of the policy to the Life Care Funding Company along with a simple application which includes some medical information about you. The Life Care Funding company underwriters will determine whether they will make a cash offer to you for the purchase of the policy, and for how much. If they make such an offer and you accept it, the cash is then placed into a Life Care Funding Trust for your benefit, and payments are made to your care provider on a monthly basis. You will then stop making premium payments, and you will benefit from the policy. Please let us know if you would like us to help you explore this possibility.

In the future, we will be discussing other unique ways we can utilize our own funds to help pay for our long term care.

For additional information, you can contact 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, 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.

Jun
09
2014
0

How To Convert Your Life Insurance Policy To Help Pay For The Cost of Senior Care

Some of our clients have asked whether they should let their life insurance premiums lapse, as part of budgeting for the cost of care for their loved one. Many of our clients have been making premium payments on their life insurance policies for a long period of time.

My answer is to first find out whether their life insurance policy has a value that can be converted to a long term care benefit. As part of the process, we present a copy of the policy to a Life Care Funding Company along with a simple application. The company underwriters will determine whether they will make a cash offer to you for the purchase of the policy. If they make such an offer and you accept it, the cash is then placed into a benefit account that is professionally administered by the company.

 Payments from the benefit account are then made monthly to the care providers for the benefit of the individual receiving care. Payments can be made for instance to assisted living communities, nursing homes, retirement communities and home health care providers.  

Once the life insurance policy is converted to a long term care benefit, you will no longer make premium payments to keep the life insurance policy in effect.

For additional information, you can contact 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, 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.

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.

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