Jun
28
2016
0

Does Grandma Have A Medical Consent Form For Her Grandchild?

During the summer, many grandchildren will stay with their grandparents for a period of time. If you are a grandparent who will be taking care of one of your grandchildren, be sure that you have a Medical Treatment Authorization Form for your grandchild. Most medical doctors will require such a legal document, which confirms that you have the authority to care for your grandchild and to authorize medical treatment for him or her. The form contains information about the grandchild, identifies the physician, and includes information regarding medical insurance and allergies. The authorization is given by the grandchild’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and confirms dates through which the authorization is effective.

In addition, you as a grandparent should have a document reflecting that you have temporary authority over your grandchild. This document will come in handy for instance, if your grandchild needs a permission slip to go on a school field trip or to go to day camp.

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
10
2015
0

Will Medi-Cal Let Me Make Gifts To My Wife Without Penalty?

Will Medi-Cal Let Me Make Gifts To My Wife Without Penalty?

YES!  For qualification for Medi-Cal, there is presently a 30 month look back period for making gifts. But this look back period does not apply between spouses. We have discussed in previous blogs how to properly transfer the home between spouses in order to avoid a state lien after the Medi-Cal recipient passes away. There is no penalty period for this transfer.

The ill spouse and the well spouse can both have any amounts of qualified funds, like IRAs, when qualifying for Medi-Cal. These are called “exempt assets.” The ill spouse can then have no more than $2,000 in regular or “non exempt” assets. The well spouse can have up to $119,220 in regular assets. So for qualification for Medi-Cal, the ill spouse will generally transfer her regular assets to the well spouse, so that the ill spouse has no more than $2,000 in regular assets.

If the well spouse then has more than $119,220 in regular assets, he can gift a portion of that amount to other individuals, to get him down to $119,220, but penalty periods can apply. Medi-Cal will ask if any assets have been gifted within 30 months prior to qualification for Medi-Cal from either spouse to other individuals. The gifts from the ill spouse to the well spouse do not create penalties. But any gifts to other individuals, like family members, can create penalty periods for qualification for Medi-Cal.

To figure out the penalty period, divide the amount of the gift by $7,628. The answer will give you the number of months of ineligibility for Medi-Cal. So, if $35,000 is gifted from mother to son within the last 30 months, that amount is divided by $7,628. The solution is 4.58 (rounded down to 4) months of ineligibility. So if the gift was made in October 2014, the Medi-Cal applicant would not be eligible for Medi-Cal until February 2015. Your elder law attorney can help you lower the months of ineligibility caused by gifting, through long term care planning. Do not attempt any transfers without the advice of your elder law attorney.

Your elder law attorney will help you to increase the quality of your life, and not just figure out who-gets-what after you pass away. For additional information, you can contact your elder law attorney Michael J. Young. This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are advised to see your elder law attorney. At the law offices of Michael J. Young, 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, 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 Sustainable Estate Planning TM, 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 to help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit.

Mar
02
2015
0

What assets can you keep when qualifying for Medi-Cal?

What assets can you keep when qualifying for Medi-Cal?

Your Home: Your home is generally exempt, or not counted, in determining eligibility for Medi-Cal. The Medi-Cal applicant, or their representative, must express an intent to return home. This is confirmed on the Medi-Cal application. It is also confirmed when you execute your estate planning documents with your elder law attorney. The home is also exempt if a spouse, minor, blind or disabled child lives in the home. You will most likely want to transfer your interest in the home to your spouse or child in order to avoid a recovery by the state against your home after you die. You will need the help of your elder law attorney regarding an transfers concerning the home.

Personal Property: Your household goods and personal effects are totally exempt for determining eligibility for Medi-Cal.

Cars: Medi-Cal will give you an exemption for one car.

Jewelry: When one spouse is in a nursing home, all jewelry is exempt. For a single person, wedding and engagement rings and heirloom jewelry are exempt.

Whole Life Insurance: You cannot have more than $1500 cash value in your policy. If there is more than $1500 cash value, it must be reduced.

Term Life Insurance: Term life insurance is totally excluded.

Burial Plots: Burial plots are totally excluded:

Prepaid Irrevocable Final Expense Trusts: You can put any amount into an irrevocable final expense trust for your funeral and final expenses. These trusts are used for general estate planning, but are also helpful for planning for Medi-Cal eligibility. You can “spend down” a portion of your assets by transferring them to a final expense trust in order to create eligibility for Medi-Cal. You can ask your elder law attorney about this trust, and there is generally no fee for its creation and implementation.

IRAs and work-related annuities: If the IRA is in the applicant’s name, the IRA is exempt if the applicant is receiving periodic payments of interest and principal. If the IRA is in the well spouse’s name, it is totally exempt.

Community Spouse Resource Allowance: The spouse at home, called the community spouse, can have up to $119,220 in liquid assets, plus the home, IRAs and other exempt assets listed above.

For additional information, you can contact your elder law attorney Michael J. Young. 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, 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, 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 Sustainable Estate Planning TM, 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 to help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit.

Oct
06
2014
0

Little Known Law May Help Seniors Pay for Long Term Care

On August 17, 2006, the President signed into law The Pension Protection Act of 2006. This law, which came into effect in 2010, can be very helpful to Baby Boomers and older clients who are looking for ways to private pay for long term care without coming up with additional funds.

Many of our clients own annuity contracts, and this law allows them to add long term care riders for an additional premium. The Pension Protection Act allows the cash value of annuity contracts to be used to pay the premiums for these long term care riders. The payment of premiums in this manner also has a tax benefit in that it will reduce the cost basis of the annuity contract.

The act also allows for the purchase of an annuity contract with a long term care rider by using cash in another annuity. By utilizing a Section 1035 tax-free transfer, you can purchase the new contract with a long term care rider without paying capital gains on the cash transfer.

Another option under the act for some clients, is to use the accumulated cash value in an annuity to purchase long-term care insurance through a § 1035 exchange. Other premium sources for long-term insurance can be by way of a § 1035 exchange. You can also utilize after tax money, such as savings or money market accounts or CD’s to purchase long term care insurance or life insurance with long term care riders.

For additional information, you can contact your elder law attorney Michael J. Young. 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, 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, 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 to help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit.

Sep
29
2014
0

An Interesting Insurance Based Strategy To Help Private Pay For Long Term Care

Our clients are concerned about how they will private pay for their long term care. Most long term care takes place first in our homes and then in assisted living facilities. We have Medi-Cal in California, but it only pays for a stay in a skilled nursing facility, if we qualify. As a result, our clients are always asking, “How can we private pay for our long term are if we do not go into a nursing home?”

This strategy may be appropriate for individuals who do not want to pay premiums to purchase long term care insurance policies. People have become reluctant to purchase long term care insurance because of the cost, and because of the fact that if you do not use it, your investment by way of premiums paid is lost. In addition, long term care insurance companies have been known to raise the premiums of its insureds over time.

Many of our clients take the position that they will “self-insure”, using their savings for their care. For these individuals, one effective planning approach may be to leverage some of their savings that they would use for their care in the future to provide a larger pool of money. This money can be utilized to pay for care in the home, assisted living facility or nursing home. If the money is not needed, it would then pass to their children or heirs.

To employ this strategy, money is transferred from its current location (bank account, older fixed annuity past the penalty period, etc.) into a specially designed life insurance policy with riders that allow accelerated payment of a large portion of the death benefit to the policy owner upon a qualified health event, to help pay for the costs of long term care.

Depending on the age and health status, the lump sum premium paid into this type of life insurance policy may provide a death benefit of double or more that amount. However, if the insured qualifies to begin using the long term care benefits, the insured may receive as much as five times the amount of the original premium. Any monies not used for convalescent care would still pass to the heirs upon the death of the insured.

When your elder law attorney prepares your long term care estate plan, ask him to explore this possibility with you.

For additional information, you can contact your elder law attorney Michael J. Young. 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, 1931 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 220, Walnut Creek, CA http://www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com, 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 to help them qualify for Medi-Cal and the VA Aid & Attendance Improved Pension Benefit.

Aug
04
2014
0

One Unique Way You Can Use Your Own Funds To Help Pay For Your Long Term Care Is To Convert Your Life Insurance Policy Into a Life Care Funding Trust

As we have discussed in the past, there are 3 ways to pay for long term care. 1) You can use your own money; 2) You can use your long term care insurance if you have it; 3) You can utilize the VA Aid & Attendance program to help pay for in home care and the cost of assisted living facilities, and you can use Medi-Cal to help pay for a stay in a skilled nursing facility . 

Most of our clients are not Veterans or the surviving spouses of veterans, and cannot tap into the VA Aid & Attendance program to help pay for in home care and assisted living facilities. Others may never need to go into a nursing home and  utilize Medi-Cal. In addition, as it turns out, most of our clients do not have long term care insurance, and they find long term care insurance to be either impossible or too cost prohibitive to obtain. 

Government benefits are available, but may become more difficult to obtain in the future. California will soon adopt the Deficit Reduction Act, which will make Medi-Cal eligibility more difficult. Medi-Cal can pay for your stay in a skilled nursing facility. VA will probably institute a look-back penalty period for gifting, and make that benefit more difficult to obtain.

Also, many Assisted Living Facilities now offer several  levels of care including independent living, custodial care and care in memory wings. If you could utilize your own funds for the cost of the assisted living facility, you would probably like to stay there for as long as possible.

One way you can use you our own funds to pay for your long term care, is to possibly convert your life insurance policy into a Life Care Funding Trust. Some of our clients have asked whether they should let their life insurance premiums lapse, as part of budgeting for the cost of their long term care. Premiums on life insurance policies have typically been made for many years, and it would be a shame to let the policy lapse without a benefit to you.  

 We can explore whether your life insurance policy has a value that can be converted to a long term care benefit. As part of the process, we will present a copy of the policy to the Life Care Funding Company along with a simple application which includes some medical information about you. The Life Care Funding company underwriters will determine whether they will make a cash offer to you for the purchase of the policy, and for how much. If they make such an offer and you accept it, the cash is then placed into a Life Care Funding Trust for your benefit, and payments are made to your care provider on a monthly basis. You will then stop making premium payments, and you will benefit from the policy. Please let us know if you would like us to help you explore this possibility.

In the future, we will be discussing other unique ways we can utilize our own funds to help pay for our long term care.

For additional information, you can contact elder law attorney Michael J. Young. 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.

Jun
09
2014
0

How To Convert Your Life Insurance Policy To Help Pay For The Cost of Senior Care

Some of our clients have asked whether they should let their life insurance premiums lapse, as part of budgeting for the cost of care for their loved one. Many of our clients have been making premium payments on their life insurance policies for a long period of time.

My answer is to first find out whether their life insurance policy has a value that can be converted to a long term care benefit. As part of the process, we present a copy of the policy to a Life Care Funding Company along with a simple application. The company underwriters will determine whether they will make a cash offer to you for the purchase of the policy. If they make such an offer and you accept it, the cash is then placed into a benefit account that is professionally administered by the company.

 Payments from the benefit account are then made monthly to the care providers for the benefit of the individual receiving care. Payments can be made for instance to assisted living communities, nursing homes, retirement communities and home health care providers.  

Once the life insurance policy is converted to a long term care benefit, you will no longer make premium payments to keep the life insurance policy in effect.

For additional information, you can contact elder law attorney Michael J. Young. 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.

Apr
17
2014
0

Special Needs Trusts For Children

A number of our clients have “special needs” children who are presently receiving public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medi-Cal. Other clients have “special needs” children who may need public benefits later in life. These public benefit programs have asset limits. Many times the children who are receiving public benefits become settled in their lifestyles regarding their living arrangements and working requirements. They usually do not want to lose these benefits and have their lifestyles disrupted by receiving an inheritance when their parents or grand parents pass away.

The parents and grandparents want to preserve the family wealth for all of their children and grandchildren, and do not want to disinherit a child. There is a remedy for this problem, and that is the creation of a supplemental special needs trust. This trust is written into the revocable living trust of the parents or grandparents as part of their estate plan. The share of the inheritance for the special needs child will go into the supplemental special needs trust upon the passing of the parents or grand parents for the benefit of the special needs child.

The overall goal of the supplemental special needs trust is to provide for the needs of the special needs child that are not being met by government benefits. The life of the special needs child can be enhanced by providing for better care, supplemental medical needs, supplemental therapies, recreational opportunities and other living enhancements. The wealth of the family can thereby be preserved, and when the special needs child passes away, his or her share of the inheritance can go to his children or to other family members.

The language in the supplemental special needs trust must be very specific in order for the child to keep the public benefits and yet benefit from the trust. First, the child must not be the trustee, and may not have legal access to the funds in the trust. Another person must be named as trustee. The terms of the trust direct that any distributions from the trust must be in compliance with the Supplemental Security Income, Medi-Cal or other government benefits regulations, so that benefits are not disrupted. The trust must also be drafted in such a way as to avoid any recoupment by Medi-Cal after the special needs child passes away. Your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney can advise you and help you in the preparation of a supplemental special needs trust.

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
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.

Feb
04
2014
0

Your Home Is Still An Exempt Asset for Medi-Cal Qualification

The home (principal residence) of a Medi-Cal applicant is still not counted as an asset for qualification for Medi-Cal if you take certain steps. In order to qualify the home as an exempt asset, the applicant must confirm in writing that he intends to return to his home after a stay in a nursing home. The home is also exempt for qualification if his spouse or a child under the age of 21 resides in the home. There are additional ways to confirm the home as an exempt asset for Medi-Cal qualification, but confirming the exemption is usually not a problem.

 Under the Deficit Reduction Act, which has not to date been implemented in California, we believe that a home will not be exempt if it has more than $750,000 in equity. However, to date this is not the law, and we will be sending out e-mail blasts when we get more information in this regard.

 However, just because the home can be made exempt for qualification for Medi-Cal, does not mean that the home is protected from a Medi-Cal lien after you die. If a Medi-Cal recipient dies with the home in his estate, the state will want to recoup its loss against the home. If a surviving spouse is in the home, the state will not pursue a lien until the surviving spouse dies. If the home is not in your estate when you die, the state cannot recover against it.

 There are techniques allowed under the Medi-Cal regulations which allow us to transmute (transfer) the home to a spouse prior to death without penalty, in order to avoid a Medi-Cal lien. We can also transfer the home to other family members or to third parties without penalty under the regulations. However, any such transfers must be done correctly under the regulations. When making such transfers, we must take into account capital gains and assessor re-assessment issues. At times “life estates” are reserved in the home to the applicant for tax purposes. Your elder law attorney can help you with your long term care planning regarding the home.

 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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