Mar
15
2016
0

Medi-Cal and Life Insurance Recovery

If you die after having been on Medi-Cal, the state can only recover what is left in your estate at the time of your death. Whatever is in your revocable living trust when you die, is recoverable by Medi-Cal because that is part of your estate. That is why we reserve powers in the revocable living trust and financial powers of attorney to transfer assets out of your trust during your life in order to avoid state recovery.

If you have life insurance and you die, your beneficiary, such as your spouse or a child, will receive the death benefit. This death benefit to your spouse or child is not recoverable by Medi-Cal. However, if you name your revocable living trust as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, the death benefit will be funded into your revocable living trust when you die. This death benefit will be “in your estate” when you die, and therefore recoverable by Medi-Cal. As a result, if you think you may be applying for Medi-Cal at some date in the future, you should name a person or persons to be the beneficiary of your life insurance policy.

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.

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.

Mar
25
2014
0

Consider Naming a Professional Fiduciary In Your Estate Planning Documents

When we prepare our estate planning documents, such as the Revocable Living Trust and Financial Durable Powers of Attorney, we typically name our spouses and then our children as our fiduciaries if we cannot act for ourselves. It would seem that the most common reason that would cause a fiduciary to act is the loss of mental capacity of the principal. For instance, in the case of a Revocable Living Trust for a husband and wife, they will name each other as a co-trustees. If neither of them can act because of incapacity, the children who have been named as successor trustees, will step up to act as trustee. With a Financial Durable Power of attorney, the couple will typically name each other as attorney in fact, and if they cannot act for each other, the children who have been named as successor attorneys in fact, will step up to act.

Many of our clients however do not have a living spouse or children or even siblings who can be named as fiduciaries for them. In addition, statistics show that at lease a quarter of persons in the  age group of 80 years or older, have significant clinical cognitive impairment. These individuals will need a responsible fiduciary to help manage and preserve their assets for them, and to help ensure that they receive good care as they age.

So for people who really have no one to name as a fiduciary in their estate planning documents, we recommend naming a professional fiduciary. These individuals are licensed by the State of California Professional Fiduciaries Bureau.  A professional fiduciary as successor trustee of a revocable living trust for instance, will carry out the terms of the trust while you are alive, and then finish the trust administration when you die.  During your lifetime, the professional fiduciary as successor trustee under your trust, or as your attorney in fact under your financial power of attorney,  will manage your checking account, pay your bills and otherwise help to protect your assets. They will make sure that your assets are used for your care and that your assets are preserved and managed for as long as possible. Many older people are vulnerable to scammers and even family members who will try to take advantage of them, and take their money.

We can recommend several very good professional fiduciaries who you could consider naming as successor fiduciaries  in your estate planning documents.

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.

Mar
11
2014
0

No Look Back Period for VA Aid & Attendance

There will NOT be a look-back gifting penalty period for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. On February 27, 2014, Senate Bill 1982, known as The Veterans Pension Protection Act, did not get the required votes to pass. One of the purposes of this bill, which also contained other provisions, was to help curtail some of the backlog at the VA for processing this benefit.

 Unlike Medi-Cal, VA does not have a look-back gifting penalty period for qualification for the Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit. As a result, you can theoretically gift all of your assets away today, and be eligible for this VA benefit tomorrow with no gifting penalty. California however has a 30 month look back penalty period for gifting for eligibility for Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays for nursing home costs, minus a share of cost contribution by the recipient.

 A problem has been that the 30 month look back penalty rules for Medi-Cal have often been ignored when large gifts have been made for qualification for Aid & Attendance. The result has been that if you make a big gift today in order to receive this VA benefit, you may have created a long period of ineligibility for Medi-Cal, by not following the Medi-Cal gifting regulations. Your elder law attorney will advise that any gifting made for qualification for the VA Aid & Attendance Pension benefit should coincide with the Medi-Cal gifting rules.

 If Senate Bill 1982 had passed, any gifts made within the last three years would be reported, and a penalty for eligibility would attach.

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.

Mar
04
2013
0

Protect Your Home From a Medi-Cal Lien With a Reserved Life Estate

Medi-Cal can pay for your stay in a skilled nursing facility if you qualify. Under the state’s regulations, your home can be confirmed as an exempt asset in the Medi-Cal application. This means that you can keep your home, if you are otherwise qualified, and still receive Medi-Cal. This is true whether you are single or married. The concept is that you should not have to lose your home in order to receive this public benefit.

 The problem is that the state will want to recoup the payments it has made to the nursing home for your benefit, when you die. If your home is in your estate when you die, the state will put a lien on your home for the amount it has paid to the nursing home on your behalf. If the state has paid out $150,000 for you, they will put a lien on your home for that amount. When you die and your estate is settled, the state will be satisfied first for their lien of $150,000, and your beneficiaries will receive what is left. The state will not pursue a lien against a surviving spouse who still owns the home, but when she dies, the state’s lien will attach to the home and the state will recoup their payments at that time. 

There is a legal technique which is permitted under the regulations, which will allow you to protect your home against a Medi-Cal lien. It is called a “reserved life estate,” and your elder law attorney or senior law attorney can advise you in this regard. If the Medi-Cal applicant owns a home, we can transfer her interest in the home to her spouse, or to her children, for instance. A life estate in the home is reserved on the deed in favor of the Medi-Cal applicant. This means that the applicant owns the home for the rest of her life, and that her spouse or children own the remainder interest. The applicant is entitled to rents, issues and profits derived from the real estate. These interests are confirmed on the county record. When the Medi-Cal applicant dies, the home is not in her estate because her life interest disappears at the time of her death by operation of law, and her spouse or her children then receive the full interest in the property. Elder law planning and asset protection planning can be further pursued for the surviving spouse with your elder law attorney, to likewise protect her interest in the home.

Although under real estate law the home is not in the Medi-Cal applicant’s estate when she dies, so that a Medi-Cal lien cannot attach to the home, another benefit in using this technique is that under the IRS regulations, the reserved life estate interest should be recognized as keeping enough interest in her home in her estate, so that there should be a “step-up in basis” for capital gains purposes at the time of her death.  

If you have lost mental capacity at the time we would like to make a transfer of your interest in your home and reserve a life estate in your favor, we will need to look at the language and powers in your revocable living trust and financial durable power of attorney. If the powers are not there, and they usually are not, you may have to pursue a court petition through an elder law attorney who is familiar with this area of the law, in order to reform your documents to allow for this transfer. Most revocable living trusts and financial durable powers of attorney do not contain this favorable language. As a result people who are “baby boomer” age or older should consider getting their “Ducks In A Row” and have their elder law attorney or senior law attorney create an elder care plan for them, which will include estate planning documents with this favorable, asset protection language. An elder law attorney who is familiar with Medi-Cal qualification can certainly help you in this regard. Michael J. Young is an elder law attorney who practices in Walnut Creek, CA.

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. He is 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

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Jan
10
2013
0

It Is Difficult Being The Caregiver For Your Older Loved One

Many of our older clients are being taken care of by their spouse, or by one or more of their adult children or another family member. The older person of course appreciates the help, and the caregiver feels gratified in their role. The caregiver may also feel extremely guilty if they don not help. The care often takes place in the older person’s home or in the home of a child. Also, spouses and children will at times spend nights in their loved one’s care facility to help with the care.

But, being a caregiver for an older person can be a 24 hour a day, seven days a week job. And, the work can be exhausting. We receive calls all the time from family members or from spouses, who tell us that they can’t do it any more. I remember when my brother and I were trying to take care of our elderly father. My brother and I finally got to the point where we could barely pick our Dad up to help maneuver him to the bathroom. Toileting issues were difficult for everybody. Our Dad also would not cooperate with taking his medications, and there were other problems. My brother and I finally decided that we did not have the requisite skills to properly care for our Dad any longer, but we suffered with the guilt associated with making this decision. I do remember being amazed however, when we hired an experienced in-home care giver for our Dad, how the care giver, because of his training, could easily move our father around.

If you find yourself in the caregiver role, please keep in mind that your own health can suffer as the result of helping your loved one. How many times have we heard of the well spouse passing away from exhaustion caused by her helping her ill spouse? Please give yourself a break. Call other family members and friends to help you. You can utilize adult care services, where you take your loved one to spend several hours during the day. You can also hire a caregiver, and there are many fine agencies in the area who have qualified people who can help you.

Please feel free to contact us if you have questions along these lines, as we may have suggestions for help you can receive within the elder care community 

At the Law Offices of Michael J. Young in Walnut Creek, for many years now, we have helped clients and their families with questions such as these. We also continue to help seniors keep what they have earned. We do this through the preparation of asset protection plans, long term care 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, Medi-Cal attorney, senior law attorney and probate attorney in Walnut Creek, CA and former in-house counsel for title insurance companies. He is 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

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.

Mar
07
2011
0

What Happens If You Don’t Die?

Most estate planning documents are prepared for what happens when we die. They are not prepared for what happens if we don’t die. With regard to the trust, if one spouse dies, for instance, everything goes to the other spouse. When the second spouse dies, everything goes to the children. During the lives of the spouses, all assets stay in the trust. If any gifting is allowed, it is not to exceed $13,000 per year per child. If there is no trust, the financial durable power of attorney will usually not provide for any gifting or asset protection.

But what if we want to do Medi-Cal or VA Aid & Attendance Benefit planning, and the makers of the trust or the makers of the financial durable powers of attorney have lost their mental capacities. For this planning, we at times will transfer assets, including the home,  from the ill spouse to the well spouse. We might also make transfers of various assets from parents to the children or to other loved ones.  The language to do this type of planning, 99% of the time, is not included in the typical estate planning documents. If the makers of the documents have lost their mental capacities, we cannot do this planning, and may have to go to court to reform the documents. As a result, long term care planning should include updating the estate planning documents to include government planning and asset protection language.

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

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.

Nov
02
2010
0

Some Differences Between Medicaid and Medi-Cal

     Medicare is a Federal health insurance program. Social Security funds are used to pay the costs of the program. Individuals who are over the age of 65, and who have made Social Secuirty contributions during their working lives are entitled to benefits. Part A of Medicare pays for hospitalization, hospice and some health care. It also pays for rehabilitation in a nursing home for specific periods of time. Part B is designed to pay for outpatient hospital care and doctors’ visits. Co-payments, deductibles and monthly payments may be required for Part B.  

     If a person is hospitalized for three days under Medicare, and then goes into a skilled nursing facility (SNF), Medicare will pay pay 100% of the bill for up to 20 days in the SNF. After that, for days 21 to 100, Medicare will pay only for 80% of the cost. During this time, the Medicare recipient will be required to make a co-payment, through supplemental insurance or will pay privately.

    After 100 days, there is no Medicare coverage for a SNF. After that time, you must pay privately, pay through your long term insurance policy (if  you have one) , or qualify for Medi-Cal to pay for the SNF. The average stay in a SNF under Medicare is under 24 days. Medicare and Medi-Cal are two different programs, and are not related to each other.

     Planning for Medi-Cal qualification should be made early on, through your elder law attorney. There are qualification requirements with regard to assets, income,  spending down, gifting, and a share of cost which goes to the the nursing home. There are legitimate and legal methods through the Medi-Cal regulations to protect assets and create qualification for Medi-Cal. You may visit our web site at htt://WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, for information on how to plan for and how to qualify for Medi-Cal. The estate planning documents, including the financial durable powers of attorney and revocable living trust are usually updated to include government benefits and asset protection language. If a client loses mental capacity, and this language is not present in the estate planning documents, qualification for government benefits, including Medi-Cal, and asset protection is much more difficult.

 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, who also advises on Medi-Cal qualification, asset protection, nursing homes and the VA Aid & Attendance qualification, serves Contra Costa and Alameda Counties in CA, including the cities of Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, Concord, Brentwood, Pleasant Hill, Antioch, Clayton, etc.

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