Both parts of the title to this article are a myth. First, most people don’t have a will. In fact, it’s estimated that only about half of all Americans have a will; even though, all need one. Second, a will is not all that anyone needs. A will only handles a few matters and is only effective when you’re dead. There’s much more to estate planning than that. For example, a will almost guarantees probate, except for modest estates. Probate is expensive, especially in California. Probate … [Read more...] about MYTH: Most People Have a Will and that’s All They Need
In order to qualify for Medi- Cal Long Term Care benefits, you as an applicant must fall below certain income and asset thresholds. However, not all your assets are taken into account when it comes to determining whether you meet the requirements. Countable vs. Non-Countable When you submit an application for Medi-Cal Long Term Care benefits, your assets fall into two categories: countable and non-countable. Only your countable assets are part of the equation for determining whether … [Read more...] about Medi-Cal Planning Tips
An advance health care directive is a written document authorized under California law that allows you to take control of your medical care. By creating an advance directive before you become too ill to refuse certain medical treatments, you can take control of your future health care while you are still mentally able to do so. However, if you become mentally incompetent or unable to create an advance directive, you lose control of the ability to choose medical treatments. Some states refer … [Read more...] about Make Your Advance Health Care Directive Before It’s Too Late
If you become incapacitated at any point in your life, who will manage your finances? You may think that you know the answer to that questions, but from a legal perspective you may not. Incapacity can happen slowly as part of the natural aging process or can happen in a moment as the result of the tragic accident. Regardless of how you become incapacitated, someone will have to manage your finances. If you are married at the time you become incapacitated, your spouse may have access to some … [Read more...] about Who Will Manage Your Finances If You Become Incapacitated?
In this final installment, we will focus on additional VA benefits planning strategies. One effective strategy is commonly referred to as "spend down", which simply means to use otherwise countable liquid assets to purchase needed items such as vehicles, medical equipment, etc. The treatment of tax-deferred accounts poses special problems. While the annuitization approach may work in certain circumstances, in others, it may be better to liquidate the account and include it in a spend down … [Read more...] about Veterans Benefits: A Primer – Part 7 of 7
As noted in the previous Part, many person who initially contact our office relating to VA benefit eligibility do not immediately qualify for them. In most cases it is because they have too many assets that the VA would count in ascertaining their availability. However, despite the recent restrictions imposed by the VA on eligibility standards, there are effective and legal strategies that can be employed to reduce one's net worth for VA eligibility purposes. One note of caution: There … [Read more...] about Veterans Benefit: A Primer – Part 6 of 7
The health and safety of our clients, staff, and friends of the law firm are top of mind amid concerns about the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As estate planning and elder law attorneys, our practice is dedicated to serving our most vulnerable citizens, including seniors, those who are ill, disabled, experiencing mental health challenges and children with special needs. The uncertainty around the pandemic has many people with immune system challenges concerned about exposure to the … [Read more...] about Our Available Services During COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic
Before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our clients were already assisting elderly or disabled family member and friends with such things as meals, medications, medical visits and shopping. Regular visits just to check in were also part of many folks’ normal routines. COVID-19 restrictions have had a large negative impact on many of these activities. So, how can you continue to assist under these new circumstances? Here are a few thoughts: Medical Issues Under a federal … [Read more...] about Assisting Family and Friends During These Trying Times
A power of attorney, or POA, is a legal document that has been around in varying forms for centuries. The concept, or purpose, behind a power of attorney is the ability to give another person the legal authority to act on your behalf. The extent and the duration of the authority depends on the type of POA that you execute. Although POAs are widely used by people of all ages, they are particularly popular with the elderly. Unfortunately, they are also widely used by people who want to take … [Read more...] about Basics of Powers of Attorney
You’ve probably heard of the terms “will” and “living will.” However, if you are like most people, it may be confusing to fully understand the differences between these terms. While they are both very different, it is important to implement both into your estate planning. Take a look at what both of these legal documents offer: A will, also known as a last will and testament, is only effective after you die. It has no effect during your lifetime. A living will is only effective during … [Read more...] about What’s the Difference between a Will and Living Will?