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.

Jan
07
2013
0

BEWARE OF SCAMMERS WHO PREY ON SENIORS

Scammers are consistently targeting older people. An older client of ours in Walnut Creek called us to ask how she could be taken to the airport so that she could give a courier $2,500 for a service fee. The service fee was apparently to ensure that she would receive $25,000 that she was told she won in a contest. Our client said that she had made the check out and was ready to have it delivered, and that it had to be delivered no later than 3:00 p.m. that afternoon. We instructed our client to do nothing. We followed up by calling the person back who called her. It was an obvious scam, and we contacted the FBI.

Another client told us that she received an e-mail, purportedly from her grandson, stating that he was in Europe and needed money wired to him right away. The e-mail stated that the grandson had been robbed, had no money, and was living in the street waiting for the money to be wired to him. This was a ridiculous story and an obvious scam Please do not respond to e-mails like these or click their links.

In another case, a man who was almost 90 years old and who was suffering from some dementia, was the victim of a scam involving time shares. An unscrupulous salesman sold the senior a number of time shares, which the older person would never be able to use. Fortunately, the timeshare contracts were reversed by his daughter, but not without a lot of time and effort.

These stories are very disheartening to me, as an Elder Law Attorney in Walnut Creek, who for many years has endeavored to help seniors keep what they have earned. We do this through the preparation of asset protection plans, revocable living trusts, powers of attorney and wills, and assistance with applications for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid and attendance Pension Benefit.

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney and probate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA and former in-house counsel for title insurance companies. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com LawYoung1@Gmail.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 Probates, Probates with Real Estate, Medi-Cal, nursing homes, 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.

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Oct
11
2012
0

Where are Mom’s Papers?

It is very important to know where your loved one’s papers are!

We are always trying to accomplish elder care planning as early

as possible, so that we can get all of our ducks in a

row before memories fade.

 

Last week we helped a family whose elderly mother needed

long term care planning. The father had died almost two years

earlier, and he had been in charge of all legal

and financial matters for the couple. The mother was in a nursing home

and could not remember for sure if she had a trust or any estate planning

documents, or whether her home was in a trust. The family also did not know

if there were any estate planning documents, could not find any, and did

not know about a trust. They wanted us to apply for Medi-Cal for their mother,

and to protect her home from a potential Medi-Cal lien. 

 

I asked the children to keep looking for the legal documents.

I checked with my resources at a title company, and was able

to a get a copy of the last deed of record for the home,

and the deed confirmed that the home was indeed in the mother’s family trust. 

Fortunately, the deed referenced the attorney who prepared it. I called

the attorney, who said he had retired, but thought that he had

copies of his clients’ documents in a storage facility. It took awhile,

but the attorney eventually provided us with copies of the estate

planning documents, including the trust. We were able to amend the

various documents for government benefits and asset protection purposes,

and we proceeded to protect the home from a potential Medi-Cal lien.

 

We also needed to see recent statements of all bank accounts, IRA

accounts, etc., for Medi-Cal qualification. We also needed to see life

insurance policies that the mother owned.

The mother was not sure about any of this,

nor were her children. I asked the children to please look for

these documents, to watch the mail for new statements, and to

familiarize themselves with these matters. The mother confirmed

that she wanted her children to help her.

 

The children were able to find the statements, and

also found a life insurance policy that the mother owned. Fortunately, at least

for Medi-Cal qualification, there was no cash in value that

we would have to deal with to create Medi-Cal

eligibility for the mother.

 

The mother was thankful that her children were helping.

The father had apparently been a very strong willed person,

who for whatever reason, did not choose to involve his

children, let alone his own wife, with any of these important issues.

 

All worked out well in this case, but not without loss of time

and with additional angst and tension that the family

and their mother did not need at this time. 

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney and probate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA and former in-house counsel for title insurance companies. www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com LawYoung1@Gmail.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 Probates, Probates with Real Estate, Medi-Cal, nursing homes, 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

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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Apr
12
2012
0

2012 CA Medi-Cal Quick Reference Guide

The following is our 2012 CA Medi-Cal Quick Reference Guide. Please refer to our website, http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com for a further explanation of Medi-Cal qualification requirements.

2012 CA Medi-Cal Quick Reference Guide

Community Spouse Resource Allowance

$113,640

This is the amount that the community, or (at home) well spouse can retain in liquid assets. This amount does not include exempt assets, such as the home and qualified accounts, such as IRA’s.

Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance

$2,841

This is the minimum amount of income the well spouse can keep. 

 Average Private Pay Rate (Divestment Penalty Divisor)

$7,092

This is the amount the State pays to nursing homes on the Medi-Cal program, minus a share of cost by the applicant. This figure is also used to calculate penalty periods of ineligibility for Medi-Cal.

 Applicant Resource Allowance

$2,000

The applicant can keep this amount in cash, checking, etc.

 Monthly Personal Needs Allowance

$35

The amount of non-exempt liquid assets the ill person is allowed to keep.

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.

Sep
13
2011
0

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, lawyoung1@gmail.com, 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.

Sep
12
2011
0

Some Tips On Finding a Nursing Home

When finding a nursing home for your loved one is necessary, it is important to decide what is important for him or her. Things such as location, religious orientation and  access to hobbies should be considered. You should request brochures from several facilities you are interested in, and you should tour several of the the facilities. After you have narrowed your choices, plan on visiting the facilities during business hours, and during off hours. The atmosphere and staff may be quite different, and not what you expected during the off hours.

When you visit the facilities, pay attention to your instincts. Do you feel welcome? Did you have to wait to meet a representative? Did the representative seem genuinely interested in your particular situation? When visiting the facility, do not be afraid to ask as many questions as you can think of. If you are shy about asking questions, bring someone with you to encourage the questions, or they can ask the questions for you. Ask if the facility has survey results you can review, and ask if they have been prohibited from accepting new residents by the state at any time.

You will be under great stress at this time, so it is important that you take a deep breath and understand that there are positive things that you can do for your loved one. Also, do not neglect getting your ducks in a row through the help of an elder law attorney, regarding asset protection, estate planning, public benefits planning and long term care planning for your loved one. 

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, lawyoung1@gmail.com, 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.

Jul
19
2011
0

VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefits w/o The Sale of Annuities

The VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit is available for wartime veterans or their surviving spouses. For 2011, a single veteran can receive up to $1,644 per month, and $1,949 if married. The widowed spouse can receive up to $1,056 per month. This benefit is most helpful for payment of in home care, assisted living facility and board and care costs.

For qualification, the VA takes into account, among other things, income and assets. If the applicant’s income and assets are too high, he may not qualify. That is where planning by your elder law attorney, who is certified by the VA, comes in. In addition, when we plan for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit, we also plan for Medi-Cal benefits at the same time. Medi-Cal pays for nursing home costs after your Medicare days are used up. Nursing homes in our area can cost upwards of $7,500 or more per month. If you plan for VA alone, without taking into account the more stringent Medi-Cal rules at the same time, you may become eligible for VA but ineligible for Medi-Cal.

Beware of being asked to purchase an annuity to qualify for VA. We have been informed by clients and others that there are annuity salesmen out there, who are also usually not certified by the VA, who will ask you to purchase an annuity for VA qualification. I understand that they usually do not tell you about the annuity at first. The purpose for the sale of an annuity, from a legal perspective, is at best unclear, and is generally viewed by the elder law legal community as unnecessary.  Your elder law attorney can best help you with asset protection and planning, within the Medi-Cal and VA regulations, without the sale of annuities. Medi-Cal also has stringent requirements about annuities, which could make the Medi-Cal applicant either ineligible for Medi-Cal, or require him to pay more than necessary in the share of cost, which money goes from the applicant to the nursing home.  We receive calls from individuals, and their families, who are quite angry that they have purchased an annuity for VA qualification, angry that they do not understand what the purpose of the annuity was, and would like to know how to reverse the process. Your elder law attorney, who is certified by the VA, can best help you with long term care planning, asset protection, VA and Medi-Cal qualification, and estate planning at the same time, legitimately and within the regulations.

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, 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.

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

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, 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.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see an elder law attorney, who is certified by the VA, for professional advice.

Jul
11
2011
0

Swimming With Grandchildren Without A Pool!

I can’t help myself talking about our grandkids, at least one more time. My wife and I have two grandchildren, a boy 4 and a girl 2 ½. Both kids “stayed over” a couple of weekends ago. They arrived on Saturday morning with their little suitcases packed, which included their swimsuits. They wanted to swim with us in our community pool, but that plan was thwarted when we found out the pool pump was broken.

We felt horrible, and did not have a little pool for them. What we did have was a large plastic storage container, which held about 20 gallons of water. We also had large and small “Super Soaker” squirt guns, and Grandma had all sizes of plastic measuring cups. The kids put their swim suits on, filled the storage container with water, and climbed inside the container! They played with the hose, the squirt guns and the measuring cups for hours. Every once in awhile they would climb out of the container and lie on their towels in the sun to dry off. When they were dry they would climb back into the container and have more fun! I guess we don’t really need a pool, but I am off to Target to find something for them to use at our house.

There is probably no legal point to all of this, (other than to include your grandchildren in your estate plans) but I just had to share with you how fun it is being grandparents!  

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, 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.

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

Jul
06
2011
0

My Grandchildren are Too Cute!

When I was younger and people started to talk about their grandchildren, I would practically plug my ears. Now that we have two grandchildren, ages 4 and 2, I am the one who can’t stop talking about them.

So, since I can’t stop myself, I must tell you a story about my granddaughter, Edie. She will be 3 this coming September. Grandma and I were watching both grandchildren a few weekends ago, and Edie was on my lap. I was opening a package that came in the mail, and when I opened the package, bubble wrap came out. My granddaughter said to me, “BaPa, cut a small piece for me.” So I cut a small piece for her and said, “Like this?” She said, “Yes, not pop it! Pop it! Pop It!” I started to pop the little bubbles for her, and she couldn’t stop laughing. It made me laugh that she was laughting, and I was also laughing at how this little girl could give me orders which I would immediately comply with.

I felt like my life was made at that moment. My granddaughter and I were both happy and laughing. I was also astonished that this little girl at age 2  1/2 would know about these things and could tell me what to do like that! I just can’t imagine that other grandchildren are that smart. (ha ha)

I hope you didn’t plug your ears. Thank you, BaPa, Mike Young.

Written Michael J. Young, lawyoung1@gmail.com, 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.

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

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