Settling Small Estates under $150,000

          Effective January 1, 2012, in California, estates of decedents valued at less than one-hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) can be settled as small estates without probate.  Formerly, the limitation was one-hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).            To determine whether a decedent’s estate is a small estate the following are excluded:  Assets held in the […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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How does Medi-Cal treat gifts in determining eligibility to receive Medi-Cal for long term care at a

  A reader requested that I discuss Medi-Cal’s gifting rules. Under existing Medi­Cal regulations, anyone who applies for Medi-Cal to assist paying for long term care at a “Skilled Nursing Facilities” (“SNF Medi-Cal”) must disclose all transfers by the applicant and his or her spouse during the 30 month period prior to application; the so-called […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Amending, Restating or Revoking One’s Living Trust

A primary feature of the revocable living trust is that it can be amended, restated or revoked entirely by its settlor(s) at any time.  Thus the living trust can change with circumstances.  So when does it make sense to amend, restate or revoke a trust and start over?  Let us examine these alternatives. A trust […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Medi-Cal Planning options to protect the principle residence.

      Occasionally someone calls and tells me they are convinced that they should transfer their home into an irrevocable trust to avoid Medi-Cal estate recovery.  They are “sold” on that approach, but is it the right decision under present law?  Transferring ownership on the remote chance of receiving Medi-Cal is usually ill advised.  What […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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SSI and Medi-Cal rules affecting Retirement Accounts

            Retirement plans, such as Individual Retirement Accounts (“IRA’s”), are special assets not only when it comes to their favorable income taxation treatment, but also when dealing with SSI and Medi-Cal rules regarding eligibility and estate recovery.  Let us examine the rules, first, and then consider a scenario.             Retirement plans […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Is your family protected if you become disabled?

Does your estate plan adequately protect your loved ones should you become disabled? That is, do your power of attorney and trust instruments authorize your agent and trustee, respectively, to assist those who depend on you in the manner you would want were you to become disabled?  It is entirely possible that your legal instruments […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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The Place of In-Laws in One’s Estate Plan.

Depending on one’s family circumstances, In-Laws may factor as either a more or less important consideration in planning one’s estate.   These persons include your children’s own spouses and your spouse’s own parents and siblings.  In-Laws are important for various reasons.  First, they may have inheritance rights in regards to your blood relatives’ estates.  Second, they […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Considering Long Term Care Insurance

With people living longer planning for the cost of long term care is a real concern.  Long term care encompasses a continuum of care options, from at home care, to assisted living, up to a residential skilled nursing home.  Long Term care Insurance (“LTCI”) is private insurance that pays for some of these long term […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Considering Pooled Special Needs Trusts.

“Special Needs Trusts” (“SNT’s”) come in three types: (1) Self-Settled (“first party”); (2) third party; and (3) Pooled.  SNT’s help people with special needs to remain eligible for needs based government benefits (e.g., SSI/Medi-Cal) who might otherwise lose such benefits due to an inheritance, personal injury award, or a lucky wind-fall. Many people who know […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Making Enforceable Health Care Decisions.

          My last article discussed the power of attorney for personal care.  That article discussed how to authorize an agent to handle financial and property issues largely related to your personal care.  This article discusses how to make your health care wishes enforceable.  The Advance Health Care Directive, the Do-Not-Resuscitate Order, and […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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