The Advantages of a Stand-alone Special Needs Trust

          Most people who have heard about special needs trusts are familiar only about the Testamentary Special Needs Trust (hereafter Testamentary SNTs).  Testamentary trusts are established at the death of the person establishing the trust pursuant to his trust or will.   Stand-alone Special Needs Trusts (hereafter Stand-alone SNTs), however, are established while the benefactor is […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Putting it all together.

Understanding the importance of the team work that is involved in managing one’s financial, legal, property and health care affairs is important.  Hypothetically speaking, let us consider a husband and wife whose estate plan involves a revocable living trust, powers of attorney, and health care directives.  How will the persons whom the couple has legally […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Considerations in Estate Planning.

          Getting one’s affairs in order is important to you and your loved ones at multiple levels.  First, a comprehensive, well drafted estate plan may afford you protection against an otherwise avoidable conservatorship of your own estate; against a costly and time consuming probate; and against financial abuse.  Second, a thoughtful estate plan can promote […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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Giving Effect to a Settlor’s True Intentions.

          A cardinal rule of trust administration is that the intentions of the settlor(s) – the person(s) who created the trust – are to be given effect.  A second cardinal rule is that a trust must be strictly administered according to its stated terms.  What happens, then, when the stated terms of an executed trust […]

posted on: January 26, 2015

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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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