Jan
22
2015
0

My Dad Has Already Done Some Gifting! Can He Still Qualify For Medi-Cal?

California does have gifting penalty rules. If the rules are not followed, you could create periods of ineligibility for Medi-Cal. If you follow the rules, Medi-Cal can pay for your stay in a skilled nursing facility, minus a share of the cost that you would pay. We have seen monthly bills of $10,000 and more from skilled nursing facilities.

You can gift any amounts of money or assets to your spouse without penalty, and she can keep up to $119,220, plus her IRAs and “exempt assets, and you can still be qualified for Medi-Cal.

If you gift your money and other non-exempt assets to someone other than your spouse, penalties may apply. The Medi-Cal application asks if you have made any gifts of non-exempt assets to someone besides your spouse, within the last 30 months. If you have, that amount is divided by $7,628. This is the amount that Medi-Cal pays monthly to nursing homes, minus the share of cost paid by the Medi-Cal recipient. It is called the Approximate Private Pay Rate, also known as the APPR.

So for instance, if you gave $40,000 to a grandchild for college tuition during January of 2014, you would not be eligible for for Medi-Cal for the next 5 months. You would not be eligible for the months January through May. You would be eligible however in June, 2014. To figure this out, divide the gifted amount of $40,000 by $7,628 and you will get 5.24, which rounded down is 5 months of ineligibility. You can also give the same amount of a gift on the same day to two children, and still only get 5 months of ineligibility. There are also other rules which can be employed which allow us to transfer monies over time, and thereby significantly reduce the number of months of ineligibility. The nice thing about these rules, as they presently exist, is that the penalty begins to run during the month that you made the gift.

When the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) is adopted in California, which could be any time, there will be a five year look back instead of a 30 month look back penalty period for gifting. If we take the above example under the DRA rules, of the $40,000 gift to a grandchild, you would be ineligible for 5.24 months after you have entered the nursing home. If you gifted that amount to two people, you would have two periods of ineligibility of 5.24 months each. Also, under the DRA, the more liberal rules for gifting over time will be severely restricted.

As a result, you should proceed now with your long term care planning with your elder law attorney.

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.

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.

Nov
04
2013
0

Peace of Mind Now For Baby Boomers and Seniors Facing Retirement

A big issue now facing Baby Boomers and seniors is, surviving in retirement. We should have our “Ducks In A Row” now regarding health and financial issues, and there are many things we can do.

 Most of our clients do not have long term care insurance to pay for a stay in a nursing home. If they do, the policy would probably not pay the full cost. Fortunately however, California has Medi-Cal, which will pay for a stay in a nursing home provided that you qualify. You can now set up a long term care plan through your elder law attorney, as part of your estate plan, to provide for asset protection and qualification for Medi-Cal. For veterans, the plan will also help for qualification for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit to help pay for in home care and assisted living facilities. Your plan will also confirm your overall desires regarding how your assets will be spent for your care at home and otherwise. If you lose capacity, your loved ones will have the authority to follow through with your plan.

 The home is often our clients’ largest asset. You can take steps now through your estate planning documents to assure that your home will pass to your loved ones as a legacy, without a Medi-Cal lien, so that the state will not be able to recoup the nursing home payments it has made for you.

 Many Baby Boomers’ do not have sufficient savings to live on through retirement. The stock market has hurt many portfolios in the past. Fortunately however, Social Security is still in existence. Some analysts say that the program can pay for benefits for the next 25 years for the general populace. There also seems to be a consensus of opinion, that any changes in the law should not affect Baby Boomers, and that the fund will be available for them. Although you can begin taking benefits at age 62, this could be a 25% reduction of what you would receive if you waited until you are 66. If you wait until age 70, this could raise your benefit by 8%, so wait longer if possible.

 For additional peace of mind, you can change your life style just a little bit, and try to keep more of what your earn. I recommend reading The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley in this regard. Stanley gives examples of how changing your lifestyle somewhat, and giving up certain luxuries, will allow you to put more money into your retirement accounts on an ongoing basis.

 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.

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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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.

Apr
09
2013
0

You Can Ask For Copies of Your Nursing Home Medical Records

If you are a resident of a nursing home, you have the right to access your medical records. You can request copies of your medical records, and the nursing home has two business days to give you a copy of your records. Your request should be made in writing. You will have to pay for the cost of the copies to the nursing home if asked, but you cannot be charged more than $.25 per page, or $.50 per page if the records are copied from microfilm. The nursing home can also ask you for a reasonable sum from you for clerical costs. You may also ask for copies of your financial records from the nursing home, with the same copy costs.

In addition, the persons you have designated in your HIPAA statement or in your health care power of attorney may request copies of your nursing home records for you. HIPAA stands for the “Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” You can also sign a release form allowing others the right to request your nursing home records on your behalf. The nursing home may want to delay the process of providing copies of the documents to you, but they must comply under the law, within two working days.

Most nursing homes are cooperative in this regard, but it seems that few people are aware that they may ask for their records. If you are the resident of a nursing home who is asking for your records, your authority is under a Federal Code, and if the request is made by your representative, it would be under a California State Code. The within information is not to be taken as legal advice, but only as general information. You should consult with your Elder Law Attorney or Medi-Cal attorney in Walnut Creek, CA for additional information.

Michael J. Young, Attorney at Law, is an estate planning attorney and Medi-Cal qualification attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. For additional information, please visit our website at  www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com LawYoung1@Gmail.com Our address is at 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 Alamo, Walnut Creek, Concord, Danville, Pleasant Hill, Brentwood, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, Probates, Probates with Real Estate, Medi-Cal, nursing home costs, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is an Elder Law Attorney and Probate Attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, CA. Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney, Walnut Creek Probate Attorney. Senior Law Attorney. Walnut Creek Medi-Cal attorney. Mr. Young is certified by the VA and is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

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