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.

Oct
08
2013
0

What Can The State Recover After I Die?

If you die after having been on Medi-Cal, the State will try to recover from your estate what they have paid out for your benefit. If there is nothing left in your estate, there is nothing for the State to take. If your home is still in your estate when you die, it could be subject to State revocery. Your revocable living trust does not protect your home from State recovery.  If you transferred your home prior to your death, following the Medi-Cal regulations, it would not be subject to recovery by the State upon your death.  If you transferred your home and reserved an irrevocable life estate, the home would not be in your estate when you die, and not subject to recovery. The life estate would disappear upon your death, and the State does not pursue recovery against reserved irrevocable life estates.

The State will not pursue recovery against the surviving spouse of a deceased Medi-Cal beneficiary. After the surviving spouse dies however, the State can pursue recovery against any property received by the surviving spouse through distribution or survival from the Medi-Cal beneficiary spouse.

If the Medi-Cal recipient is survived by a minor child under the age of 21, or if there is a blind or disabled child of any age who survives the Medi-Cal beneficiary, there can be no claim for recoupment by the State.

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.

Oct
08
2013
0

IRAs and Medi-Cal Qualification

The Medi-Cal applicant can have any amount of IRAs that are in his name, and still qualify for Medi-Cal. For instance, the applicant could have $200,000 or more in his name in IRAs, and still be eligible for Medi-Cal. IRAs and work related pension funds are also exempt from Medi-Cal qualification. The only requirement is that the Medi-Cal applicant must be receiving periodic payments of interest and principal from the IRA. If you are receiving minimum required distributions (RMDs) under the IRS rules from your IRAs, then you have probably satisfied this requirement.

In addition, the IRAs owned by the well spouse of a Medi-Cal applicant are also exempt for Medi-Cal qualification. The IRAs owned by the well spouse are also not included as part of the community spouse resource allowance (CSRA). The CSRA, or the amount the well spouse can retain is $115,920.

After the Medi-Cal applicant dies, the State cannot recover from his IRAs or from his work-related pension funds, provided that a pay on death beneficiary is named. If the beneficiary of the IRA is the estate of the applicant, the State may be able to recover against the fund. Beneficiary designations on IRAs and other assets should be reviewed as part of the long term care planning process with your elder law attorney.

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.

Oct
07
2013
0

Medi-Cal and Life Insurance

An individual can have any amount of Term Life Insurance, and still qualify for Medi-Cal. Term life insurance has been defined as life insurance that pays a benefit in the event of the death of the insured. So if you have a life insurance policy that pays $10,000 upon your death to your son for instance, that policy is exempt for qualification from Medi-Cal. Also, after the Medi-Cal applicant passes away, the $10,000 is paid to the beneficiary son, and there is no recovery by Medi-Cal. Problems can arise however, if the Medi-Cal recipeint receives a benefit from a life insurance policy, upon the death of his spouse for instance. This event could create immediate disqualification for the Medi-Cal recipient. As a result, when we do long term care planning, we take this possibility into account.

Whole life insurance policies are treated differently for Medi-Cal qualification. Whole life polices cannot  have a total face value, or cash value, that exceeds $1500. The cash value of the policy that exceeds $1500 is counted as an asset toward Medi-Cal qualification. An individual can not have more than $2,000 in non-qualified funds in order to qualify for Medi-Cal. As a result, the cash value of the Medi-Cal applicant’s whole life policy in excess of $1500 will have to be reduced and then transferred in order to create qualification. If the applicant has lost mental capacity, the financial durable power of attorney, provided it has the appropriate language, would be relied upon to liquidate the policy and then to possibly gift the excess amounts, in order to create Medi-Cal qualification. All of these issues should be taken into account as part of long term care planning.   

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.

die after having been on Medi-Cal, and your term life insurance policy pays a benefit in the amount of $10,000 to your son, for instance .

Sep
30
2013
0

I Thought My Revocable Living Trust Protected My Assets from Medi-Cal

Many people who call our office are under the belief that because they have a revocable living trust, that their assets are exempt from Medi-Cal qualification. They also believe that their revocable living trust protects their assets from a Medi-Cal lien from recovery to the State after they die. Both notions are incorrect.

When qualifying for Medi-Cal, all assets in the name of the applicant, including those in the applicant’s revocable living trust, are counted. If assets are held in a revocable living trust created by a husband and a wife, all of the assets in the trust are counted towards qualification, whether the applicant is the husband or the wife. If you pass away after having been on Medi-Cal, all assets in your revocable living trust are subject to recovery. If there are no assets in your revocable living trust when you die, there can be no recovery against the trust.

In order to gets your “Ducks In a Row” for possible Medi-Cal qualification and protections of assets, your revocable living trust should be updated so that it contains the requisite asset protection and government benefits planning language. In the event of your incapacity, this language will allow your fiduciary, usually your spouse or another loved one, to gift assets or transmute (transfer) assets, pursuant to the Medi-Cal regulations and California law, in order to qualify for Medi-Cal. The majority of revocable living trusts do not contain this language.

If you have an irrevocable trust, the assets in that trust may or may not be counted toward Medi-Cal qualification. And, the assets in the irrevocable trust may or may not be protected from a Medi-Cal lien after you die. The irrevocable trust should be examined by a qualified elder law attorney in order to make that determination.

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.

Aug
19
2013
0

Finding Support For Alzheimer’s Patients:

If you are taking care of a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you are probably overwhelmed. You of course will need help. At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young in Walnut Creek, CA, www.WalnutCreekelderLaw.com, we suggest that our families begin by taking small steps.

One of the first steps I would take is to start to become educated about the disease by checking out the Alzheimer’s Association website www.alz.org.  By reading the material on this website, you will become informed about what Alzheimer’s is, how the brain works, and what to expect regarding symptoms and preferred treatments.

The site will also show you where the local Alzheimer’s Association offices are. Through these offices, you can sign up for support groups and learning centers. One thing that you will become aware of is that you are not alone! Through the Alzheimer’s Association website, you can check out early-stage support groups, and become involved in them. You will gain peace of mind through this wonderful organization.

You of course can also obtain individual support through the clergy, home health agencies and private counseling.

The next step you should take is to make sure you have your “Ducks in a Row” from a legal perspective. Did you know that you can incorporate asset protection and government benefits planning into your estate planning documents, that will be effective even if there is a diagnosis of dementia? Your loved one may have to go to a nursing home at some point, which is extremely expensive if you have used up your Medicare days and have to pay privately. Fortunately, California still has the Medi-Cal system to pay for nursing home costs. However, the program is asset and income based, and you will need to get your ducks in a row ahead of time for qualification to obtain this benefit. Couples and individuals are many times surprised to learn that their loved one can qualify for this wonderful benefit, even though they would appear to have too much in the way of assets. If your loved one has lost mental capacity at the time we start to work on qualification for Medi-Cal, the qualification process can become more difficult.  

You can also arrange a time for a free 15 minute telephone consultation to discuss these issues with elder law attorney, Michael J. Young, by going to https://www.timetrade.com/book/PTXVP

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.

Jul
30
2013
0

Alzheimer’s Is A Family Illness!

Our office represents many families who have a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. We typically will receive a call from the spouse or child of the person suffering from dementia. The person calling may tell us that their spouse or parent has become forgetful, is not paying the bills or that he is very depressed. On other occasions, we are told that their loved one is “acting out” and is doing unusual things, such as putting their socks on their hands instead of their feet, or are wandering off and getting lost.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia definitely creates an extremely stressful time for the entire family. The fortunate victims of this disease have spouses and family members who can help them through their ordeal. Keep in mind also, that you do not have to handle this alone, and that help is available to you. The first thing that should be done is to have a physician give your loved one a complete physical examination. The examination should include neurological testing, medical history, lab tests, function tests and brain imaging. The examination results can determine whether the symptoms are temporary, and could show that the behavior of your loved one is caused by depression, poor nutrition, drug interaction or alcohol abuse. If the symptoms are permanent, they could be caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If the diagnosis is Alzheimer’s disease, you can also consult with a geriatric psychiatrist who can help with behavioral issues. If you need help finding a doctor, you can check with a physician’s referral service. Also, if you participate in caregiver support meetings, you can ask the other participants at the meetings.

Your elder law attorney can also be helpful to you to plan the elder care journey for the loved one who is suffering from dementia and their family. We meet with families, and help get the family’s “ducks in a row” from a legal and estate planning perspective. We can give advice on asset protection and qualification for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. The families we meet with derive a great deal of peace of mind from these meetings.

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 older clients 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, older clients 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.

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Jul
19
2013
0

Baby Boomers Predict The Future!

Baby Boomers Predict The Future!

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to predict the future for us Baby Boomers, and start planning for it! But we do know certain things about our future …

  •  On average, 10,000 people are turning age 65 every day.
  • It is predicted that at least 70% of people over age 65 will need long-term care services.
  • Currently, the median cost of long-term care for one year in the United States is $83,950.00.
  • In 30 years, when the last of the Boomers reach age 65, the price of long-term care is expected to be at an all time high of $190,000 per year.
  • Currently, the average amount of time a person needs long term care is 2.7 years.

 As my grandson would say, “OMG!”

As a senior estate planning attorney, and a Baby Boomer, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to plan for our long term care. GE Long Term Care Insurance conducted a study and found that nursing home costs are rising at a rate of 5% every year, outpacing inflation. With the rapidly growing elderly population this is the simple law of supply and demand.

 So, what can we do to prepare for the second half of life? If you or your spouse are age 65 and one of you goes into a nursing home, do you have a spare $513,000 lying around to pay for your or your spouse’s care.

 We still have Medi-Cal in California, which pays for the cost of a skilled nursing facility. The VA Aid & Attendance Pension benefit is still available to help pay for in home care and assisted living facility costs.

But you need to “get your ducks in a row” ahead of time to plan for qualification for these benefits. For starters, Baby Boomers are now taking advantage of modern asset protection and government benefits planning qualification techniques, which are incorporated into their estate planning documents. Also, one of our main goals is to preserve our homes for our children, without a lien for payback to Medi-Cal. With the modern language in your estate planning documents, if you become incapacitated, your spouse or loved one can follow through with qualification and asset protection techniques under the Medi-Cal and VA regulations.  

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your senior estate planning attorney before attempting any of these techniques. 

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.

May
31
2013
0

Baby Boomer Alert!

You should get your “Ducks In A Row” now. Many of us Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, have helped to take care of our elderly parents. Both of my parents are gone now, but my siblings and I helped our parents through their “Elder Care Journey,” which I talk about in my workshops. We helped our parents, the best that we could, with issues concerning their illnesses, memory issues, trips to and from the hospital and trips to and from nursing homes. We helped to get in-home-care for them, and helped to get them into assisted living facilities and a board and care home. Finally, both parents passed away while on hospice.

 I remember my brother Charles saying to me early on regarding helping our parents, that “This isn’t getting any easier.” And I remember thinking to myself that it won’t be that much longer, in the scheme of things, before my wife and I, who are both Baby Boomers, could need care. We want to make things as easy as possible for our children to help care for us.

 The first thing Baby Boomers should do is check their estate planning documents, including their revocable living trust and financial durable powers of attorney, to be sure that the proper asset protection and government benefits language is in the documents. The boiler plate language in the majority of estate planning documents will not help in these areas if you lose mental capacity. If the language is not there, and you lose mental capacity, your family may have to resort to going to court to reform your documents, which can be costly.

 With proper long term care planning, which starts with your estate planning documents, Medi-Cal could be accessed to pay for nursing home stays if you use up your Medi-Care days. And, there techniques you can use to protect the home from a Medi-Cal lien, which can be specified in your estate planning documents. In addition, the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit is there to help older war time veterans, and this benefit can be used to help pay for in home care and assisted living facility costs. Proper language in your estate planning documents will make it much easier for your children to follow through with your care and to access these benefits, especially if you lose your mental capacity. 

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 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 families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

 This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney regarding any planning.

May
01
2013
0

Be Patient With Seniors

A lot of us Baby Boomers have either helped take care of our elderly parents, or are presently doing so. The process of taking care of an older person who is ill can be difficult, and the circumstances never become easier. We must remember though to always slow down, and to maintain our patience with our older loved ones while in our care roles.

 I remember when I was a teenager with my driver learner’s permit, at age 15 ½, I was driving with my father in his car. I stopped at a stop sign, and I expressed exasperation about an older man who was slowly crossing the street with his cane, and holding up a long line of cars. My father scolded me, pointed toward the old man and said, “Michael, that man is you, very soon!” At the time it was difficult for me to relate to my father’s comment, but I will never forget it.

 As Baby Boomers, we are extremely busy with our lives. We are usually operating at warp speed and are always multi tasking. Our demeanor and our speech often reflect our impatience with the lack of swiftness at which the world around us is responding to our expectations. In order to be good care givers when dealing with our older loved ones, we must substantially slow down.

 Communications can be difficult, but do not need to be so. When we are speaking with our older loved ones, we must be in the moment with them. As difficult as this may sound, the cell phone should be turned off and put away. We need to listen carefully and respectfully to what our older loved ones are saying and what they are asking. If they become angry, do not react with anger. Try to envision yourself at their age and in their circumstances. As my father would say, “That person is you.”     

 At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young, www.WalnutCreekElderLaw, 925-256-0298, lawyoung1@gmail.com we practice Elder Law. We help families through the Elder Law minefield, and have been helping family members to better communicate with each other. We help families with long-term care planning, asset-protection plans, comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts and powers of attorney. We also help families get their ducks in a row in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

 This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law attorney regarding any planning.

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