Alzheimer’s Planning – Long Term Relationship

We do Alzheimer’s planning in our lawfirm. This type of long term care planning includes, in part, the preparation of estate planning documents. These specialized documents contain required, updated language for asset protection and government benefits planning regarding Medi-Cal and the VA Aid and Attendance Improved Pension Benefit. Part of the planning may also include asset protection of the home and monetary assets.  

However, a big part of Alzheimer’s planning involves working with the family of the loved one who is afflicted with this disease. Alzheimer’s disease can last many years, and our relationship with the families we represent can be very long. As an example, my mother in law, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and who turns 90 next month, has been in a board and care facility for the last 10 years. Other than the disease, she is fairly healthy for a 90 year old.  She does not recognize her three “girls”, but she is being well cared for.  

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are treatments and services that will make life more bearable for the Alzheimer’s patient, and his or her family.  We offer  support for our clients and their families, regarding resources for care as part of the  long term care planning. We also encourage our clients and their families to become knowledgeable about the disease. For additional information regarding Alzheimer’s planning, please feel free to contact our office.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see an elder law attorney for your particular situation. 

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


Assets which are exempt or not counted for Medi-Cal Qualification

     Certain assets are generally exempt, or not counted, for Medi-Cal eligibility. The following is a partial list of exempt assets. There are, of course, rules affecting each of these items. As a result, please consult your elder law attorney.

  • One automobile is exempt for qualification. Many people think that if they have two cars, they have to sell one to become eligible. This is not true. The second car is counted as an asset, and the value is determined by the Medi-Cal eligibility worker.
  • Whole life insurance policies are exempt, provided that they do not have more than $1500 cash in value.  If they do, you must transfer the asset, cash it in, or take other steps to lower the value. Be sure your durable power of attorney has the appropriate elder law/asset protection language in it to accomplish this, in the event you lose the ability to accomplish this yourself.
  • You can have term life insurance in any amount.  
  • You can transfer monetary assets into an irrevocable final expense trust. This is a good planning technique to lower cash assets for Medi-Cal qualification. When the recipient passes away, the funds can be used at any funeral home in any state. Funds not used are subject to Medi-Cal recovery. Another advantage is that part of the family’s concern about burial plans is taken care of ahead of time.  
  •  IRAs, pension funds and work related annuities are exempt. Medi-Cal does have  distribution rules for principal and accrued interest however.  
  • $2,000 in cash.  
  • Your home is exempt for qualification.  

             By Michael J. Young, elder law and estate planning attorney in Walnut Creek, Contra Costa County, California. Mr. Young’s office is located at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. His office number is 925-256-0298 and his e-mail address is You can go to his web site at  Mr. Young serves senior clients and their families in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. He also has many senior clients in Danville, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Concord, Alameda and surrounding communities. His long term care plans for older clients help families prepare to pay for nursing home costs and to preserve assets. He also helps his clients apply for Medi-Cal and the VA Improved Pension, Aid and Attendance benefit. You may see Mr. Young’s “Nuts and Bolts” Guide to Veteran’s Benefits at the following link. Please check his web site for upcoming seminars.



For Medi-Cal qualification, the community spouse (well spouse) is allowed to have $109,560 (in 2009) in non-exempt, or countable assets. This is called the Community Spouse Resource Allowance, or CSRA, which increases yearly based upon the Consumer Price Index.

Only non-exempt assets are counted for the CSRA. As a result, IRA’s in the name of the well spouse, which are exempt, are not counted. Also not counted are a car, the house, household goods and jewelry in the name of the well spouse, plus the $109,560. Once the ill spouse is eligible for Medi-Cal, any assets acquired by the well spouse will not affect eligibility of the ill spouse. So, an inheritance received by the well spouse after the ill spouse is qualified, will not affect eligibility of the ill spouse.

In addition, under California law, the well spouse can keep all of her income. In addition, she is allowed to have what is called a minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance of income (MMMNA) of $2,739. If she is under that amount, she can receive a portion of her ill spouse’s income, to bring her up to that amount. 

The impoverished spouse statutes state that if the $109,560 CSRA, and/or the $2,739 MMMNA are insufficient for the well spouse to live on, she can file for an administrative hearing or file a petition with the court to have these amounts raised.

 By Michael J. Young, elder law attorney in Contra Costa County. Our offices are located at 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. (925) 256-0298. Please visit our website at

 Michael J. Young, elder law attorney advises clients in Walnut Creek, as well as surrounding  towns such as Danville, Concord, Brentwood and Antioch.

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