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.

Apr
19
2012
0

The Importance of an “Elder Law” Durable Power of Attorney

     Does your Financial Durable Power of Attorney (financial DPA) contain asset protection and government benefits qualification language? It probably does not, unless it was prepared by an elder law attorney. If you lose mental capacity, your spouse or children may be prevented from gifting your assets to themselves, in order to help you qualify for Medi-Cal or for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension benefit.

If your financial DPA contains any gifting language at all, it is probably limited to the annual gift tax exclusion amount, which is $13,000 per person this year. This language is usually of little help for Medi-Cal qualification. In addition, the language will probably not allow for gifting to the ”attorney in fact”, who is the person acting for you.  Specialized language is required under the law in order to allow for any gifting to the person acting as the “attorney in fact.” This specialized language usually does not appear in a “regular” financial durable power of attorney.

For instance, the home can easily be established as an exempt asset for Medi-Cal qualification. If the home is in the name of the Medi-Cal applicant who has lost mental capacity, and we want to transfer the home to a child and reserve a life estate to the applicant in order to avoid a Medi-Cal lien, most financial durable powers of attorney will not allow for this. Most financial durable powers of attorney will allow a transfer only upon receipt of consideration from a sale for fair market value of the real property.

To give another example, the Medi-Cal applicant, under the regulations, is allowed to own a life insurance policy, with a pay on death figure in any amount. However, in order to qualify for Medi-Cal, the applicant’s life insurance policy cannot have more than $1500 cash value. If there is a $5,000 cash value, for instance, the Medi-Cal applicant cannot qualify. The remedy is to liquidate the cash from the policy and then gift it out. What do you do however if the Medi-Cal applicant has lost capacity? We need to then look at the powers in the financial durable power of attorney. However, although most financial DPAs may allow for a liquidation of the cash value, they will not allow you to gift the cash out. The Medi-Cal applicant can only retain $2,000 in non qualified accounts, and if the cash from the policy cannot be gifted, it would have to be spent before qualification for Medi-Cal can be obtained.

The financial DPA in an elder law context, is also coordinated with the revocable living trust of the applicant. There should be specialized asset protection language in the trust, which refers to the financial DPA. This specialized language will allow the attorney in fact to “stand in the shoes” of the maker of the trust, for all purposes, including for Medi-Cal qualification. This technique is allowed by law, and provides the greatest amount of flexibility for the family who is helping the older person who has lost capacity, when we are applying for Medi-Cal.

Remember that if existing estate planning documents are not updated before the older person loses capacity, we may have to resort to a court proceeding to modify the language in the documents. This process is expensive and is not always guaranteed. The best approach is to pre-planning, and to have your estate planning documents updated as early as possible by a qualified elder law attorney, who practices full time in this area of the law. 

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 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 Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is a Concord Elder Law Attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, CA.

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Oct
04
2011
0

Medi-Cal Qualification

This is a brief list of exempt assets for Medi-Cal qualification. Your home is generally exempt, and you can take steps to protect your home from a Medi-Cal lien after your death. Your household goods and personal belongs are exempt. You can have an exemption for one car. Term life insurance policies are excluded, but you cannot have more than a total of $1500 cash value in the policies.  You can keep your IRAs and other “qualified accounts.” You can only have $2,000 of non qualified assets. 

This is a brief synopsis of exempt assets, and of course planning and applying for  Medi-Cal is much more complicated than is presented here. In addition, if you are a wartime veteran or the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran, you should consider planning and possibly applying for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. Planning for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit should be coordinated with your planning for Medi-Cal benefits. Your elder law attorney, who is also certified by the VA, can help you with planning for both benefits. 

This blog is written by Michael J. Young, Elder Law Attorney, for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law, government benefits and asset protection attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

For additional information you can go to Mr. Young’s website at  www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com . You can send an e-mail to Mr. Young at mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. His address is 1931 San Miguel Dr., Suite 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Phone: (925) 256-0298. Mr. Young has clients in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Antioch, Bay Point, Alamo, Danville, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is a member of NAELA.

Sep
28
2011
0

Elder Law is Alzheimer’s Planning

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5 million people in the U.S., and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. today. This disease is expensive for the families of Alzheimer’s patients. And, it is the families who absorb much of the cost of care.

There are government resources available to help pay for the cost of care. The VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit for wartime veterans and the surviving spouses of wartime veterans can be very helpful to pay for care. For the single veteran, the pension rate can be as much as $1,644 per month or $19,736 per year. For the surviving spouse, the pension rate can be as much as $1,056 per month, or $12,681 per year. This VA benefit can help pay for the costs of in home care, assisted living facilities and board and care homes.

Another government benefit is Medi-Cal, which can pay for skilled nursing facilities for the Alzheimer’s patient.

Qualification for both of these programs, the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit and Medi-Cal, are asset and income based. Planning for these benefits can be done through your elder law attorney. You should pursue your long term care planning goals, including asset protection, through your elder law attorney as early in the process as possible.

Your elder law and asset protection attorney will update the estate planning documents of the Alzheimer’s patient, provided it is not too late, to include asset government benefits planning, and asset protection language. Thereafter, planning steps are made over time for asset protection and for qualification for these programs.

Michael J. Young, who is an elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA, helps many clients with Alzheimer’s disease, and their families, with Alzheimer’s Planning. Elder Law is Alzheimer’s Planning.

Mr. Young is an elder law attorney who represents clients in Concord, Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Brentwood, Antioch, Clayton, Danville, Alamo and surrounding areas.

This blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult an elder law, asset protection and government benefits planning attorney for your particular case, and before you proceed with any planning.

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com mike@WalnutCreekElderLaw.com. 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 Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc. Mr. Young advises clients regarding Medi-Cal, nursing homes, asset protection, the VA Aid and attendance pension benefit, and long term care planning. Mr. Young is a Concord Elder Law Attorney with offices in Walnut Creek, CA.

Through proper planning from an elder law attorney,  disease is not too far advanced, the

Michael J. Young is an elder law attorney in Walnut Creek, CA.

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