Estate planning is not just for the rich. Protecting your property and ensuring that your assets are distributed based on your wishes is essential for just about everyone.
We provide affordable wills and trusts to regular families in Ventura County. I provide creative, practical and cost-effective estate planning advice so you can protect your loved ones and manage your legacy.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can be very expensive but there are ways to make your long-term care dollars stretch. There are three primary methods of paying for nursing homes or assisted living facilities:
1) Private-paying with one’s own dollars;
2) Using insurance that covers some or all of the cost of long-term care and
3) Need-Based Government Benefits, i.e. VA Benefits and the Medicaid program.
Private-paying for care often means total indigence. The cost of nursing homes in Southeast Florida range from about $4,000 to $12,000 per month. Assisted living facilities are about half the cost of nursing homes but still too much for many to pay without outliving their savings. Many people spend all of their savings in nursing homes and then have nothing left. Not a very good option!
Long-term care insurance works for some but most people considering nursing home care do not have long-term care insurance and either cannot qualify for the policies or cannot afford the premiums. Long-term care insurance is therefore often not an option.
Need Based Government Benefits – This leaves Veteran’s Benefits and the Medicaid program. In Florida, Medicaid pays for almost all nursing homes including the finest of facilities (you sometimes need to know the tricks to getting in!) and Medicaid increasingly covers assisted living facilities as well. But in order to qualify for Medicaid, applicants must be below $2,000 in savings and below $2,163 in income (2014 figures).
What Elder Law Attorneys Do:Elder Law Attorneys can help people to ethically and legally convert “countable savings” to “non-countable” savings, so that Elder Law clients can keep their savings and still qualify for Medicaid. This is done not out of greed but of necessity so that the Elder Law client is not left indigent at the cost of long-term care. In the words of one court, “No agency of the government has any right to complain about the fact that middle-class people confronted with desperate circumstances choose [to do Medicaid asset protection planning] when it is the government itself which has established the rule that poverty is a prerequisite to the receipt of government assistance in the defraying of the costs of ruinously expensive, but absolutely essential medical treatment.”
If you need the help, we can guide you through the process. With experienced and caring attorneys and staff, we have put together a nationally recognized system and one that makes a tremendous difference in people’s lives. To learn more and to see if our planning is right for you, set an initial consultation. When you call the office, you will be told what to expect and you will then shortly receive more information in the mail in advance of your meeting.
You Worked Hard For Your Assets. We’ll Help You Protect Them.
Contact us today by calling our office at (805) 244-5291 or click the “book a consultation” box below to schedule a time.
Creative Estate Planning for Ventura County
The process of estate planning is proactive. Detailed and thorough planning protects your assets, limits exposure to estate taxes, helps your heirs and beneficiaries avoid probate, and can help ensure that your wishes are carried out.
I begin with an analysis of your existing income, assets, insurance, wants, and needs. I then consider a wide range of estate planning tools beginning with wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and simple revocable or irrevocable trusts.
As I develop a better understanding of your existing situation and your goals, I may recommend:
- Specialized trusts, including special needs trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and living trusts
- Limited partnerships or family limited partnerships, which result in a division of interests that reduces the value of the estate for tax purposes. These can be used effectively to transfer ownership of vineyards, orchards, agricultural property, and small businesses to the next generation.
- Limited Liability companies (LLCs), which can reduce transfer costs and limit gift taxation when certain assets are likely to be transferred to a giftee on a regular basis
- Annual gifting programs, when carefully planned in advance, can minimize the value of your estate that may be subject to tax
Domestic Partnerships/Non-Traditional Couples (LGBT estate planning and others)
I am pleased to be able to assist LGBT couples with the formation of domestic partnerships, community property issues, and other legal strategies to protect their relationships.
In particular, I recommend that every LGBT couple have, at a minimum, a durable medical power of attorney and HIPAA waivers in place. The last thing you want is to have any doubt about whether your partner has the right to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so. Having an appropriate medical power of attorney reduces that anxiety.