Oct
30
2018
0

Can I Give Each Of My Children $15,000 a Year and Still Qualify For Medi-Cal?

You can give $15,000 to each of your children per year under IRS rules, but there may be penalties if you apply for Medi-Cal within 30 months of the date of the gift. Under IRS rules for the year 2018, you can give away $15,000 or less to any number of individuals, without having to report the gift to the IRS. If you give away more than $15,000 in a single year to any one individual, other than your spouse, you will be required to file a gift tax return. However, you will only have to pay a gift tax if your reportable gifts exceed $11.18 million dollars during your lifetime. I do not believe that any of my clients estates’ will be liable for a gift tax.

But beware of the Medi-Cal gifting rules and the 30 month look back penalty period. Some people are of the belief that if they give away an amount equal to the current $15,000 annual gift tax exclusion amount, that this gift will be exempted from Medi-Cal’s 30 month look back penalty period. This notion is incorrect.

The gift tax exclusion is an IRS rule, and this IRS rule has nothing to do with Medi-Cal’s asset gifting rules. While the $15,000 that you gave to your grandchild this year may be exempt from any gift tax, Medi-Cal will still count it as a transfer that could make you ineligible for nursing home benefits for a certain amount of time, should you apply for Medi-Cal within 30 months of the date of the gift.

When a person is in a nursing home and applies for Medi-Cal, the Medi-Cal application will ask whether the applicant has transferred away any non-exempt assets during the 30 months prior to the application date. Transfers or gifts between spouses are not counted. However, if a gift was made to a third party within the 30 months prior to the application date, an eligibility penalty may apply. If the gift was made more than 30 months prior to the date of the application, no penalty will apply. If the gift was made within the 30 month period, divide the sum gifted by $8,841, the penalty divisor, and that is the number of months of ineligibility for the applicant, starting at the month the gift was made. So for instance, if $15,000 was gifted in June, 2018, we divide that number by $8,841. $15,000 / $8,841 = 1.69, which would be rounded down to one month of ineligibility.  As a result, the applicant would be ineligible for June, 2018, but would be eligible for July, 2018. The devisor penalty number is revised annually.

You should also review the language in your revocable living trust and financial durable powers of attorney, to be sure that there is not a $15,000 limitation on gifting, which we commonly see. If you lose capacity, and we are limited to the $15,000 annual amount for gifting, we may not be able to utilize all of the Medi-Cal eligibility regulations, and your ineligibility period for qualification for Med-Cal could be unnecessarily extended.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Aug
06
2018
0

When To Apply For Medi-Cal

Our clients often ask us when the appropriate time would be for them to file for Medi-Cal, to help pay for a stay in skilled nursing facility (SNF). If you are actually in a SNF, you can file a Medi-Cal application. Medi-Cal requires proof that you have been admitted to a SNF, and a will not accept a Medi-Cal application before that time. Once an application is filed, it is retroactive to the first of the month that it is filed. So if you file at the end of a month, and the application is granted, it is retroactive to the first of the month the application is filed. We have been filing applications on behalf of our clients for a number of years now, and to date, all of our applications have been granted. The reason that they have all been granted is that we do not file an application unless it appears to us that our clients have met all of the requirements, and legally qualify. Of course, pre-planning at the earliest opportunity is the best way to assure that Medi-Cal will grant your application, should you need to file at a later time. Pre-planning begins with an analysis of your assets, and with updating your estate planning documents to include the appropriate asset protection, government benefits and Medi-Cal planning provisions under state and federal law. Several of these documents refer to each other, and work hand in hand for qualification and asset protection . If you have lost capacity, pre-planning is of course made more difficult, so the earlier you plan, the better. Estate planning documents typically include your revocable living trust, financial and health care durable powers of attorney, intent to return home, HIPAA statements, wills, community property agreement for couples, etc. At the time you update your estate planning documents, and we review your assets with you, we will show you what would be required for qualification, in the event you are admitted to a SNF and you need to apply for Medi-Cal. We encourage our clients to keep in contact with us over time, so that adjustments can be made to their plans for pre-qualification for Medi-Cal when necessary.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Jul
10
2018
0

Steps to Help Maintain Your Health and Safety

The following are some steps for our senior and (almost senior) clients to consider for healthy living.

  • Prevent falls: My father’s advice to me just before he died was for me to advise all of my clients to not fall. Falls can be the beginning of the end for people. Walk more deliberately, use your cane, and hold on to handrails.
  • Safety at home: Avoid climbing ladders, and if you must, make sure that someone is with you. Remove slippery area rugs. Do not jump up and down inside of the trash barrel to create more space for trash.
  • Exercise: Keep your strength up. Walk every day if you can, and add more steps all the time. If your legs are strong and your balance is good, you are less likely to fall.
  • Have discussions with your family: Talk to your loved ones and your support group about your health care decisions and your Directive to Physicians. Talk about your financial decisions and your financial Power of Attorney. Make sure all of your estate planning documents are up to date, and that they have the latest asset protection and Medi-Cal qualification provisions.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Jun
25
2018
0

No Penalties For Transfers Between Spouses Under Medi-Cal Regulations

When a person is in a nursing home and applies for Medi-Cal, the Medi-Cal application will ask whether the applicant has transferred away any non-exempt assets during the 30 months prior to the application date. Remember that exempt assets such as IRA’s are reported to Medi-Cal, but are not countable assets for Medi-Cal qualification.  The ill spouse, or applicant spouse, cannot have more than $2,000 in his/her name, of non qualified assets. The well spouse can have up to $123,600 in non-qualified assets. So if the ill spouse transfers assets to the well spouse to get down himself\herself down to the $2,000 limit, Medi-Cal does not apply a penalty. However, if a gift was made to a third party within the 30 months prior to the application date, an eligibility penalty may apply. If the gift was made more than 30 months prior to the date of the application, no penalty will apply. If the gift was made within the 30 month period, divide the sum gifted by $8,841, the penalty divisor, and that is the number of months of ineligibility for the applicant, starting at the month the gift was made. So for instance, if $15,000 was gifted in June, 2018, we divide that number by $8,841. $15,000 / $8,841 = 1.69, which would be rounded down to one month of ineligibility.  As a result, the applicant would be ineligible for June, 2018, but would be eligible for July, 2018.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Apr
09
2018
0

New Medicare Cards Are Being Issued Without Social Security Numbers

With the purpose of helping to prevent fraud and to protect identities, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has redesigned Medicare cards. The new cards will no longer show the owner’s Social Security Number. The cards will still be red, white and blue, but will also not show the gender, signature and other personal information, all of which could compromise the Medicare beneficiary’s identity. The new cards will have an 11 character, randomly assigned number, that will not be connected or related in any way to the beneficiary’s other personal data.

All current beneficiaries are scheduled to receive their new cards no later than December, 2019. In California, the new cards should arrive between April and June, 2018. Beneficiaries are encouraged to ensure that the Social Security Administration has their correct address. Address changes can be made by contacting the Social Security Administration at ssa.gov/myaccount or by calling 800-772-1213, or by visiting your social security office. The Walnut Creek office is located at 1111 Civic Dr., #180, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.

Beware of scammers who are already trying to take advantage of unsuspecting beneficiaries by contacting them directly about their replacement cards. Please understand that CMS employees never call and ask for personal or private information about Medicare recipients. The CMS also will not charge a fee for the new card. Any such inquiries would be clear signs that you are dealing with a scammer.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Elder Law Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA Probate Attorney

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Mar
12
2018
0

What Are The Intestate Rights Of Inheritance In Probate Upon The Death Of A Married Person?

The rights of inheritance from a person who died intestate, and who was married at the time of death, will depend upon the nature of the particular asset being probated. Assets of the decedent who is a married person can be community property, quasi-community property or separate property.  Quasi-community property is property acquired in another state that would have been community property if it had been acquired in California. Basically, all community property and quasi-community property will pass to the surviving spouse. The separate property of the decedent will be distributed to the surviving spouse and to other relatives, depending upon who survives. So for instance, if there is a surviving spouse and surviving children, one-half will go to the surviving spouse and one-half will go to one child, if there is only one child. If there is more than one child, one-third will go to the surviving spouse, and two-thirds will go to the children in equal shares. Other rules will apply if there are no children or grandchildren.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Probate Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA Probate Attorney

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Mar
08
2018
0

What Assets Can Be Administered By The Probate Court When The Decedent’s Will Is Filed?

Only certain assets left through a person’s will can be administered through a probate proceeding.

For a married person, all of his or her separate property, which is in that person’s name alone, can be distributed through a probate court proceeding. Separate property is identified as what was owned by the decedent before marriage. In addition, separate property refers to assets acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance. If the decedent is single, all assets in the decedent’s name alone can be distributed through a probate proceeding. For community property, one-half of each asset which is titled in the couple’s names as community property can be handled through the probate court process. In addition, the portion or percent owned by the decedent with others as tenants in common can be subject to the probate court process. Assets that are not registered in the decedent’s name, such as furniture, coins and jewelry can also be distributed through probate.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, is general in nature, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Probate Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA Probate Attorney

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Mar
02
2018
0

How Long Does A Probate Usually Take?

Probate proceedings typically take about a year to complete, and can take even longer depending on the assets and complexities of the case. After the petition is filed, notices are given and probate publication is made. Probate statutory time frames must be adhered to, and apply to various aspects of the probate, including filing dates, publication and creditors’ claims. If there are creditors’ claims against the estate, the probate can take even longer in order to resolve the claims. If beneficiaries contest certain aspects of the probate, such as the amounts of distributions and which parties are to receive which distributions, the probate proceeding could take even longer. Real estate can be sold during the course of a probate administration, even though the probate is being contested. When real property is sold during the course of a probate proceeding, the proceeds of sale are distributed from escrow to the probate bank account, pending completion of the probate proceeding.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Probate Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA Probate Attorney

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Mar
02
2018
0

What Happens To A Mortgage During Probate?

Many probates involve real estate where a mortgage or loan, is secured by a deed of trust which is recorded against title of the subject real property. Properly recorded mortgages survive the death of the borrower/owner of the property, and remain as liens against the real property through probate. As a result, mortgages are not subject to probate creditors’ claims and time limits requirements for making a claim against probate. If a mortgage is not paid off during probate administration, the lender may eventually foreclose against the real property, even during the course of a probate proceeding. The probate administrator is not required to pay off the loan through probate. It is important to communicate with the lender through the course of the probate. If the lender knows that the subject real property is being marketed for sale during the probate, the lender will usually hold off on foreclosing, pending sale of the real property through the probate proceeding.

This information is not to be taken as legal advice, and you are encouraged to see your Walnut Creek Probate Attorney.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek, CA Probate Attorney

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

www.WalnutCreekElderLaw.com

Mar
01
2018
0

Items Generally Exempted for Medi-Cal Qualification

If you apply for Medi-Cal, the following list includes items that are generally exempted for qualification.

  • Your home is exempted if it is your principal residence. When applying for Medi-Cal, you will confirm on the application that you intend to return home after your stay in a skilled nursing facility. Medi-Cal requires a “subjective intent in writing to return home” to establish the home as an exempt asset. We have our clients execute an “intent to return home” form when we prepare their asset protection estate plans.
  • IRAs, 401k’s and other “qualified accounts” are exempt. The applicant however must be taking RMD’s or some amount of principal and interest on a periodic basis.
  • Not more than $2,000 in cash in the applicant’s name, which could include savings and checking accounts.
  • One care is exempt. If a couple owns two cars, we request an exemption for the more expensive car.
  • Term life insurance is exempt, but whole life insurance cannot have more than $1500 cash value.
  • Burial plots are exempt, and prepaid irrevocable burial plans are exempt.
  • Qualified or work related annuities are generally exempt. Other annuities may be exempt according to the Medi-Cal regulations.
  • Household furnishings are exempt.

This list is not exhaustive, and this information is not to be taken as legal advice. You are encouraged to see your elder law and probate 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, probate avoidance, wills, trusts, powers of attorney and probates. 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.

Michael J. Young

Walnut Creek Elder Law

Elder Law, Asset Protection,

Medi-Cal and Probate Attorney

1931 San Miguel Dr. Ste., 220

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

925-256-0298

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