Avoid Probate To Avoid Medi-Cal Recovery

When a Medi-Cal recipient dies, the state will attempt to recover from the recipient’s estate, what the state paid for that person’s care during his or her lifetime. Before January 1, 2017, the term “estate” referred to any assets in the recipient’s name at the time of death. As of January 1, 2017, as the result of SB 833, which was signed into law by Governor Brown on June 27, 2016, the state has taken the definition of “estate” to mean a probate estate. A probate estate is an estate that is being processed through a court action in probate court. If you do not have an estate that is subject to probate when you die, there can be no state recovery. A revocable living trust will avoid probate. For instance, if you transfer your home to your revocable living trust and then you die, your home will be transferred to your named beneficiaries of the trust, without the need of a probate court action. If you do not transfer title of your home to your trust, and your name alone is on the deed, a probate of your home will be required when you die. The state could then recover against your home. If you hold title to your home in joint tenancy and then you die, title to your home will vest in the surviving joint tenant without a probate court action, and there will be no state recovery. However, on the death of the surviving joint tenant, a probate court proceeding will be required if the surviving person did not put title in a trust, or did not add another joint tenant to the deed. So the easiest way to avoid Medi-Cal recovery, is to avoid probate.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your elder law and probate 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 and probates. 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.


Veterans Benefits For The Surviving Spouse

The surviving spouse of a wartime Veteran may be eligible for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. This benefit can help pay the costs of in home care, board and care and assisted living facilities for the surviving spouse. We must be able to show that the surviving spouse had been married to the Veteran for at least one year, or had children by the Veteran if married less than one year.

The surviving spouse is not eligible if he/she has remarried. Also, the surviving spouse must have been living with the Veteran at the time of the Veteran’s death, unless they were separated because of  medical or military reasons. The Veteran must have a discharge from the military that is other than dishonorable.  The pension rate for the surviving spouse may be as much as $1,056 per month, or $12,681 per year. 

Each VA claim is different and unique, and there are never any guarantees that any claim will be granted by the VA. When we plan for the VA Aid and Attendance Pension benefit, we also plan for Medi-Cal at the same time. Both benefits have different qualification rules, which must be coordinated.

This blog is general in nature, 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, 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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