Jul
10
2018
0

Steps to Help Maintain Your Health and Safety

The following are some steps for our senior and (almost senior) clients to consider for healthy living.

  • Prevent falls: My father’s advice to me just before he died was for me to advise all of my clients to not fall. Falls can be the beginning of the end for people. Walk more deliberately, use your cane, and hold on to handrails.
  • Safety at home: Avoid climbing ladders, and if you must, make sure that someone is with you. Remove slippery area rugs. Do not jump up and down inside of the trash barrel to create more space for trash.
  • Exercise: Keep your strength up. Walk every day if you can, and add more steps all the time. If your legs are strong and your balance is good, you are less likely to fall.
  • Have discussions with your family: Talk to your loved ones and your support group about your health care decisions and your Directive to Physicians. Talk about your financial decisions and your financial Power of Attorney. Make sure all of your estate planning documents are up to date, and that they have the latest asset protection and Medi-Cal qualification provisions.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

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.

Sep
16
2013
0

Problems With Do It Yourself Estate Planning:

“My husband has prepared our estate planning documents using downloaded forms from the internet. He now has dementia, and may need to go into a nursing home. Can you help us apply for Medi-Cal and protect our home and other assets?” This is an actual case, and the documents are a mess. The documents will not allow us to protect the home and other assets and qualify for Medi-Cal for the husband without going to court with a petition to reform the documents. A court petition of course is much more expensive than the attorney fee required for the preparation of proper estate planning documents with the correct asset protection and government planning language and provisions.

I have received calls like this one many times over the past 30 + years I have been in practice, and they are usually are not good news. It would seem simple enough to download documents like trusts, wills and financial durable powers of attorney, and just fill in the blanks. Many people also think that it would be safe enough to have a document preparation service prepare your estate planning documents. I have seen many documents from preparation services over the years that have created more difficulties than not having them at all. I remember being in court one time, waiting for my case to be called, listening to an attorney and the judge discuss the problems created by such a trust. I remember the judge saying out loud in open court something like, “The decedent and family would have been better off had they done nothing, as opposed to coming up with this trust.” I have also heard people comment that isn’t most of this “boiler plate any way?” Boiler plate means pre-printed language in pre-printed forms that is used over and over with little or no alteration, and that ‘one size fits all.’ You may not want that!

Estate planning for Baby Boomers and older clients is somewhat sophisticated when it comes to planning for the future for our care and for asset protection. There are established techniques that are recognized under California Law to allow our clients to get their ducks in a row for qualification for Medi-Cal, which pays for skilled nursing facilities, and for asset protection for the surviving spouses and ultimately the children beneficiaries. These techniques can also be used for qualification for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. The goal is to lock in the special powers while the clients still have good mental capacity in the long term care plan. Thereafter we implement the plan when needed, and if a party has lost mental capacity, we can still follow through with the plan.
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
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.

Mar
18
2013
0

Getting Your Ducks In A Row Before a Crisis Occurs

You should get your ducks in a row long before a crisis occurs, especially where your health and finances are concerned. Many of our clients come to see us when a crisis is occurring. For instance, their spouse or loved one is in the hospital or has just entered a skilled nursing facility. At this stage the planning is usually more difficult, and we may be facing memory issues of the ill person. It may also be more difficult to preserve the home as a legacy for the clients’ beneficiaries. The home is many times our clients’ largest asset.

As part of long term care planning, we plan how various stages of care will be paid for and determine what assets and resources are available. We proceed to get our ducks in a row to protect assets. We also line our ducks up for obtaining Medi-Cal to pay for the skilled nursing facility and the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit to pay for in home care or an assisted living facility. Gifting and spending issues for Medi-Cal and VA are considered. The longer we have to do long term care planning, the easier it is for all concerned. In addition, your peace of mind can be assured earlier on. 

FAMILY DYNAMICS: When we are able to do pre-planning for our clients, we can better take into account issues concerning family dynamics. We need to know which family members are helping the ill person, and who can be relied upon when help is needed. We can offer suggestions for the well spouse for her care for the ill spouse when he comes home. We will be better able to find out if there is serious infighting and resentments among family members. When a crisis occurs, these dynamics become intensified.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS: Are the legal documents up to date? If they are, you are in a tiny minority. If you have not gone to an elder law attorney in the last several years, your documents are probably not up to date. There is specialized language that can be utilized for asset protection and for government benefits planning in the various documents. For instance, if we want to preserve the home and protect it from a Medi-Cal lien, and the ill person has severe memory issues, we may not be able to proceed to transfer the home to the well spouse or a child without going to court. Most revocable living trusts and financial durable powers of attorney do not contain this specialized asset protection language.

Pre-planning will also allow us to discuss any changes that may be needed in the trust, will, financial durable power of attorney and other estate planning documents. Family dynamics are always changing with the occurrence of deaths, divorces, children who are themselves in need of care, second marriages, etc.

Written Michael J. Young, elder law attorney, Medi-Cal attorney, senior law attorney and probate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA and former in-house counsel for title insurance companies. Mr. Young is a Medi-Cal attorney and is VA Certified.  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. Senior Law Attorney

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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Sep
17
2012
0

Medi-Cal Qualification – (CSRA) The Community Spouse Resource Allowance

For Medi-Cal qualification for married couples, generally speaking, the ill spouse can only keep $2,000 in liquid assets, plus exempt assets such as the home and IRAs.  In addition, the well spouse, also known as the community or at home spouse, can keep up to $113,640 in liquid assets, plus exempt assets. Any assets above these limits, $2,000 for the ill spouse and $113,640 for the well spouse, and excluding exemptions, will be counted for Medi-Cal qualification.

For planning purposes for a married couple, the Medi-Cal regulations allow us to “transmute” or transfer any assets from the ill spouse to the well spouse. There is no penalty for doing this, and no “look back” penalty period is calculated when the transfer is made between spouses. If the well spouse cannot live on the $113,640 plus exempt assets, we can either petition the court or request an administrative hearing to raise that amount, under the impoverished spouse statutes. In addition, we can make gifting transfers to other family members to lower the $113,640.

We can protect the home from a Medi-Cal lien by “transmuting” or transferring title of the home from the ill spouse to the well spouse. This title transfer must be done correctly on the record, and capital gains and other penalties and issues must be taken into account.      

These regulations which allow for transfers between spouses for asset protection and Medi-Cal qualification, cannot be implemented however, unless the ill spouse has sufficient mental capacity to make the transfers. If the ill spouse has sufficient mental capacity, she can sign the necessary documents. If she lacks sufficient mental capacity, we must look to her estate planning documents, including the trust and financial durable powers of attorney for the powers.

The estate planning documents must have sufficient expanded fiduciary powers under “gifting” and “revocation” sections in order to make these transfers. Please be advised that most estate planning documents do not have sufficient expanded fiduciary powers, unless an elder law attorney has prepared the documents or has amended the documents. If no such powers exist in the documents, we can go to court on a petition to request that the documents be amended to include these powers.

The best advice is to update your estate planning documents with the recognized asset protection and government benefits planning language while mental capacities are intact.   

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

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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