Oct
10
2017
0

How To Prevent Financial Elder Abuse – The Telephone

The telephone is widely used for financial elder abuse. Remember that you do not have to immediately answer the telephone. You should let the caller leave a voice mail. That way you can find out who the caller is and only call back if you choose to do so.

If you do happen to answer the phone, you should hang up immediately if the caller is trying to sell you something. Just tell the caller no regarding any prizes, requests for money from people you don’t know and requests for money from religious and charitable organizations. Also keep in mind that you have NOT WON anything, regardless of what the caller tries to tell you.

Do not under any circumstances give out any of your personal information, any credit card numbers or your social security card number over the phone.

Before you commit to anything over the phone, discuss the issue with a trusted family member, your Elder Law Attorney or financial advisor.

Michael J. Young

Elder Law and Asset Protection Attorney

Medi-Cal Attorney Walnut Creek

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

May
31
2017
0

California Still Has A 30 Month Look Back for Gifting

California still has the 30 Month Look Back Penalty Period for Gifting. There is a federal law known as the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), which has a 60 month look back penalty period. However, California has not to date implemented that law. Medi-Cal eligibility workers are required to use the 30 month look back period.

When you apply for Medi-Cal, the application asks whether you have given away any countable, or non-exempt assets within the last 30 months. If you have made such a gift without consideration, or for less than fair market value within the 30 months prior to making the application, a penalty period of ineligibility may be imposed. Transfers of any kind between spouses are exempt and do not create any periods of ineligibility.

The penalty transfer amount, which is also known as the monthly average nursing home private pay rate, is presently $8,515. The penalty period starts when the transfer is made, as opposed to when you make the Medi-Cal application. To calculate the penalty period, first check to see if it was made more than 30 months prior to making the Medi-Cal application. If more than 30 months have passed, there is no penalty.

Lets assume however that you have gifted $50,000 to your grandchild on October 1, 2016, and that you are applying for Medi-Cal on January 1, 2017. The gift was made 3 months prior to the application, so the 30 month look back penalty rule applies. You then divide $50,000 by $8,515, which reflects 5.87, which is rounded down to 5 months of ineligibility, starting from the date of the transfer. As a result, you would be ineligible for Medi-Cal during the months of October, when the gift was made, November, December, January and February, but you would be eligible March 1, 2017. There are of course other rules to consider, which may be to your benefit, which your elder law attorney can help you with.

Please feel free to contact our office should you need help with applying for Medi-Cal, and asset protection. 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 the older client and their families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Nov
28
2016
0

‘Tis the Season for Stress’ – Special Challenges

Once again the Holiday Season is upon us. ’Tis the season’ for mixed blessings. Along with the joys of the season come the stressors. This year you wonder how you will manage to get everything done. Your “to-do” list, as always, seems never ending with shopping, baking and decorating. This year, however, you know at the top of your priority list is providing the best possible care for your elderly loved one who suffers from increased dementia.

This time of year can likewise create stress for your loved one whose anxiety levels seem to mirror your own. Unlike yourself, however, the dementia affects your loved one’s ability to express himself or herself clearly. Simple changes in routine can cause unexpected anxiety which increases with the inability to verbalize what they are feeling.

In addition to the stress on both caregiver and care recipient, out of town guests add a whole new dynamic. Family members may feel shocked by your loved one’s mental and physical changes. This shock can produce feelings of guilt or anger that may be directed at you. Your loved one may also exhibit additional uneasiness — possibly viewing family members as strangers.

So the question remains, “How do you make it through the holidays and maintain some semblance of peace?” And, equally important, “How do you help your elderly loved one do the same?”

First of all, you may want to do some pre-planning. Waiting until the last minute often leaves a person feeling rushed and harried. To avoid this unnecessary stress, create a list of priorities.

If you plan to take your loved one with you holiday shopping, hit stores early in the day and on weekdays. Most malls and department stores are far less crowded at these times. Also, take along a picture of the person you are shopping for. This provides a reminder to your loved one and an opportunity for their input on the gift. Encourage your loved one to take part in wrapping the gifts when at home. (Be mindful, however, of their frustration levels.)

If you are doing any of the holiday cooking, establish the menu ahead of time. Plan to buy as many of the ingredients as possible a week or two in advance. Also, prepare whatever will keep in the refrigerator or freezer ahead of time so there is less to do on the actual day of your gathering. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask others to bring along a dish. Most guests would be happy to help.

Prepare your visiting family members for potential changes in your loved one’s status. Imagine how drastic changes and declines would seem if you had not been present to witness them. Sharing can help them prepare family and friends for the emotions they may feel when confronted with these changes.

Ultimately, you cannot eliminate stress from every environment. For this reason it is essential that you eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep. With your own stress level in check, you can focus on monitoring the stress levels of your loved one.

If the stress gets overwhelming, consider getting help with your caregiving tasks. Home health care agencies can provide help a few hours a day or a few hours a week. Adult Day Care gives your loved one a safe environment in which to interact with others. If your holiday plans include an over-night visit or extended stay, check into Respite Care.

Oct
10
2016
0

October, 2016 Medi-Cal Reference Guide

This Medi-Cal Reference Guide reflects some of the most frequently requested information we receive regarding Medi-Cal qualification.

Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) $119,220. This is the amount of non-qualified money or investments that the well spouse may keep. Either spouse may keep any amount of qualified assets, such as IRAs.

Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (MMMNA) $2,981. The well spouse is allowed to keep all of her income. The MMMNA is the minimum amount of monthly income that the well spouse is allowed to keep. If she is under this amount, the income of the ill spouse is applied to bring the well spouse up to the $2,981 amount. This calculation is set forth in the accounting that is presented with the application to Medi-Cal.

Divestment Penalty Divisor (APPR) $8,189. This is the monthly amount that the state pays to Medi-Cal nursing homes, minus a share of cost from the applicant. The APPR is also the gifting penalty divisor which is used in calculating periods of ineligibility for Medi-Cal, using the current 30 month look back period. So for instance, if the Medi-Cal applicant gifted $20,000 to a child in October, 2016, she would be ineligible for Medi-Cal for two months. Divide $20,000 by $8,189 and round down to two. The applicant would be ineligible in October and November, but would be eligible in December. There is no penalty for gifting between spouses.

Applicant Resource Allowance $2,000. This is the amount of assets that the applicant can keep, whether he is single or married.

Monthly Personal Needs Allowance $35. This is the amount of income the applicant can keep. The applicant is also given credit for his part B Medicare premium.

This off course is only part of the picture. Please feel free to contact our office for additional information.

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 the older client and their families get their “Ducks in a Row” in order help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension benefit.

Sep
28
2016
0

Consider A Joint Checking Account With Your Parents

Many older people insist on handling their own financial affairs without assistance, for as long as as possible. This is admirable, but what if something bad happens to the older person, like a medical event which lands the older person in the hospital, and ready access to cash is needed? And, what if the older person begins to lose capacity and starts to make bad decisions with their money?

For access to immediate cash, a child or other loved one should be a joint owner on a checking account with the older person. If the older person is hospitalized and indisposed for a period of time, the child will be able to take care of finances, and pay bills for their parent. If the older person starts to make bad financial decisions, or is the subject of fraud, the child could shut the account down.

The bank and financial accounts, except for IRAs, should be transferred to the revocable living trust of the older person, with a child or other person named as successor trustee. These transfers to the revocable living trust are completed through the bank or financial institution, and these trust assets are reflected on the schedules of assets attached to the revocable living trust. The trust is set up so that if the older person loses capacity, a doctor’s note is obtained, and the child can act as the new trustee to control the assets for the benefit of the parent.

But what if the parent refuses to cooperate and do any of these things? You should try to maintain a dialogue of communication with the parent, and try to stay informed about what is happening with his daily life. If the parent becomes unusually defensive when asked about his finances, this should be a red flag. At this point, a geriatric social worker may be able to help you communicate with your parent. If the estate plan and finances aren’t properly set up, and the parent loses mental capacity, a court conservatorship may be required for you to be able to gain control of the accounts. The earlier the estate plan and joint checking account is set up, the easier it will be for all concerned.

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.

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Mar
28
2016
0

You Can Spend Down Resources for Medi-Cal Eligibility

For eligibility for Medi-Cal, you cannot have more than $2,000 in non-qualified assets in your name by the end of the month that you want to be eligible. So, if you apply for Medi-Cal on April 1, 2016, you must be down to $2,000 in assets by April 30, 2016. In addition to the $2,000, you can have any amount of qualified assets, like IRAs. Under the Medi-Cal regulations, you can spend down your assets for anything for yourself, to create eligibility. For instance, you pay for  a new roof on your home, remodel your home, pay off bills, buy new clothes, pay down your mortgage, etc. Keep your receipts so that you can document your expenditures to Medi-Cal. If you are considering going into a nursing home and then applying for Medi-Cal, you should consider spending down your assets after you have applied to the facility, and have privately paid for awhile. You should keep in mind that if you have been admitted to a Medi-Cal certified facility, and have privately paid, you cannot by law be evicted or transferred from the facility because you want to change from a private pay patient to a Medi-Cal patient.

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.

Jan
25
2016
0

Plan For Incapacity Now

Planning for incapacity should take place now, while you still have good mental capacity. If you lose mental capacity, you will not be able to make good decisions regarding your financial and personal affairs. For seniors, incapacity can occur for instance, as the result of a head trauma, dementia or as a consequence of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

If you have not planned properly for incapacity, your loved ones or friends may not be able to help pay your bills and make financial and health care decisions for you. In addition, your loved ones and friends may not be able to protect your assets and help you qualify for Medi-Cal or the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit.

You should also decide now who you would trust to make financial decisions for you, and who you would trust to make health care decisions for you. These can be different people.

Your elder law and asset protection attorney will help you set up a Long Term Care Plan to handle these issues in the event you lose capacity. Your Long Term Care Plan will direct how your assets will be distributed when you die. And if you don’t die, and become ill, your Long Term Care Plan will provide directions for your long term care, will help preserve your assets and “get your ducks in a row” for asset protection and your qualification for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Pension Benefit.

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.

Dec
17
2015
0

Be On The Lookout For Sweepstakes Fraud

There are thousands of companies that use sweepstakes offers in an effort to lure people into sending them money. This has been reported by the Office of the Attorney General in California. The report says that many of these companies have been prosecuted by the California Attorney  General, attorneys general in other states, by the Federal Trade Commission and by the Postal Inspector. However, most of these companies manage to disappear before action can be taken against them. Many of these companies hide their true ownership, which makes prosecution against them very difficult.

Regrettably, Senior citizens are especially susceptible to these solicitations, which are sent to them through the mail in the form of cards and letters. Our office has received calls from clients who have asked us about these solicitations, and we advise that they throw them away.

The Attorney General offers several tips regarding these fraudulent solicitations:

  • Watch out for congratulations that you are a winner, but that you must first send money for taxes or for a fee;
  • Never send money in any form in advance of receiving a prize;
  • In order for a sweepstakes to be legal, you must first be allowed to enter the sweepstakes without any expenditure from you;
  • Never provide your bank or credit card information in order to enter a sweepstakes;

Also, be mindful that if you respond to these companies, your name and address may be sold as “suckers list” to other fraudulent companies.

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.

Jun
22
2015
0

You Can Self-Insure For Your Long Term Care

Through our elder law firm, you can explore the possibility of self-insuring for your long term care, using what are referred to as “legacy assets.” Your portfolio may contain assets that you are not presently relying upon for your support, and that you keeping for a “rainy day.”  In the back of your mind, the rainy day may be when you might need these assets for your long term care. If you don’t use these assets, they will pass to your children, or to your named beneficiaries when you die. Sometimes taxes will be due.

A good planning approach to consider is transferring a portion of these legacy assets to a specially designed life insurance policy with a long term care rider. The asset which is repositioned, now earns interest, and when you die, the asset passes to your spouse or to your loved ones, usually tax free. If you need long term care during your life, you can utilize the rider, which “prepays” the death benefit to you, as you may need it for your care. You may need to utilize the rider to pay for in home care, an assisted living facility, board and care or a nursing home.  With traditional long term care insurance, “if you don’t use it, you may lose it”.

Under the Federal Pension Relief Act, you may be able to transfer appreciated assets into such a product without paying capital gains. In addition, you may be able to transfer qualified funds, such as IRA’s and 401k’s, using a trustee to trustee transfer, without incurring a penalty.

At our firm, we can take a “snapshot” of your legacy assets, and present the snapshot to our associated financial company. They will then make a recommendation for such a product which we can present to you.

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.

May
14
2015
0

Medi-Cal Qualification and the Home – Contra Costa Elder Law Attorney Michael J. Young

Click here to watch a video of  elder law attorney Michael J. Young of Walnut Creek, CA talk about Medi-Cal qualification and the home.

Medi-Cal Qualification and the Home

You can have a home and qualify for Medi-Cal. You can also take steps to protect your home from a Medi-Cal lien.

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