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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Protecting Your Home from Medi-Cal

Later in life, most seniors will need the care and assistance of a quality nursing home. With the rising costs of health care facilities, elderly individuals are concerned about paying for this long-term care. Programs such as Veterans' Benefits, Medicare and Medi-Cal exist to assist with the cost of medical care. Unfortunately, many programs can attempt to recover reimbursement through the liquidation of assets. We can help you protect your home.

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, our Los Angeles Medi-Cal estate recovery attorneys can guide you through an in-depth discussion of your options to protect your home from Medi-Cal. California is unique. There are more protections available for your home in California than in any other state. With all these options, however, it is easy to become confused. "Homesteading" is not a protection. "Joint tenancy" is not a protection. A revocable probate avoidance trust is not a protection. Depending on your unique situation, we can provide a detailed examination of which protections are available and what will work best for you.

By completing a thorough analysis of your finances and your assets, our firm can provide educated advice on how best to protect your home. We work to keep abreast of the changing legislation and the evolving protections that California offers its elderly residents. Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at our office to learn more about your options.

Contact a California Medicare Planning Lawyer

If you have questions regarding protecting your home, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at 310-823-3943 or by completing the contact form on this website. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Protecting Spouses, Children and Grandchildren

Typically, protecting spouses, children and grandchildren are seniors' biggest concerns, even more so than protecting themselves. There are several ways to protect the assets of your heirs, and an experienced attorney can explain the costs and benefits with each option.

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, we have more than 40 years of experience guiding clients through the process of protecting their assets and ensuring a stable financial life for their family members. This can typically be accomplished while retaining control. If you are passing on hundreds of thousands of dollars, you often have to be concerned about protecting your spouse, children or grandchildren from financial predators, lawsuits, in-laws or unscrupulous business partners. Often, an heir might not be old enough to be trusted with making mature financial decisions. The goal of many seniors is to ultimately protect their grandchildren from themselves. A skilled California attorney can help.

As your lawyer, we will begin by completing a thorough examination of your finances. Through this, and an in-depth discussion about your goals and desires for your loved ones, we can provide expert advice on how best to proceed. Typically, an irrevocable trust offers a great deal of protection and control. Many clients, however, will explore the option of other asset protection trusts. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about the costs and benefits of each option, and they can explain which one best fits your situation and desires.
Contact Our Firm

If you have questions regarding protecting spouses, children or grandchildren, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at the Los Angeles area firm of LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at 310-823-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Avoid Medi-Cal Recovery in California

Individuals who are concerned about shielding assets and protecting their homes are also concerned about how to avoid Medi-Cal recovery in California. In this context, recovery is the law by which the state of California can seek reimbursement for Medi-Cal benefits. A knowledgeable lawyer can explain your options and guide you through the process.

Los Angeles Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Avoidance

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, we understand the notion that earlier is better. The sooner you work to protect yourself against recovery, the stronger your protections end up being. Here, the statutes of limitations work in your favor. We regularly tell our clients that in avoiding Medi-Cal recovery, the statutes of limitations are your friends. The timing here is important. The process of gifting assets needs to be done correctly, if you want to remain in control. Additionally, it is wise to beware of your annual $13,000 tax exempt gift. This gift can hurt your Medi-Cal qualifications. Do not confuse the IRS restrictions with the Medi-Cal restrictions.

It is important to note that the regulations surrounding Medi-Cal are always evolving to fit the needs of new generations of elderly California residents. Our attorneys work hard to stay abreast of all of the changes and how they affect our clients. We do not recommend attempting to protect yourself without a skilled lawyer by your side.

Contact a Los Angeles Attorney for Estate Recovery Protection

If you have questions regarding recovery protection, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at 310-823-2943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

California Medi-Cal Myths

In California, Medi-Cal myths can run rampant. People get bits of information from friends, family or Internet research. In many cases, they are only getting a portion of the relevant facts. In the worst case, the information they receive might be totally wrong. At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, we strive to educate our clients and alleviate any fears they might have about protecting their assets.
Some common Medi-Cal myths include:

  • They can take your home. Many individuals worry about the notion of "recovery." Recovery is the law by which the state of California can seek reimbursement for Medi-Cal benefits. People worry that this might include the sale of a home. Fortunately, there are several significant exceptions and methods we can use to protect your assets and shield your family from the loss of your home.
  • You have to give your assets away to protect them. This is commonly referred to as "spend-down." Essentially, "spend-down" refers to the act of selling your assets and dividing your estate in the attempt to protect it. While it is true that you need to be within certain asset limitations to be eligible for Medi-Cal benefits, attempting to spend-down your estate can cause more harm than good.
  • If you give assets away you have to wait 36 to 60 months to qualify. If you give assets away as gifts, it is true that there might be an ineligibility period, but that period varies based on several variables, including the value of the gifts. The penalty period can be as short as 30 days or as long as 30 months. In the near future, California will adopt a 60-month policy.


It is important to note that the legislation surrounding Medi-Cal is constantly evolving. Our Los Angeles area firm works hard to stay abreast of any changes so we can better inform our clients about their options and the protections available to them. It is wise to schedule a consultation as soon as possible so we can examine your unique situation and properly advise you on the best course of action.
Contact a Los Angeles Attorney for Home and Asset Protection

If you have questions regarding Medi-Cal myths, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at (310) 82-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Keep Control of Assets from Medi-Cal

One of the main concerns facing elderly individuals is, "How can I keep control of my assets and finances when relying on Medi-Cal to pay for my medical bills?" Essentially, this is a core question, and our attorneys work hard to ensure our clients keep control of assets from Medi-Cal.

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, we understand that the notion of keeping control can be both frightening and frustrating. When faced with the possibility of having others make decisions for you, many people would rather keep control and suffer the consequences. Fortunately, in many situations, you can keep control of your assets with the help of a knowledgeable attorney while also getting all of the help you have paid for over the years.

There are several options in estate planning that might not fit your needs. For many individuals, joint tenancy, for example, is not a beneficial option. Additionally, a revocable living trust only avoids probate and might help with taxes, but it rarely does anything for medical concerns. In our experience, the most effective way to keep control of your assets and finances is by drafting an irrevocable trust which still allows you maximum flexibility.

Our attorneys have several decades of experience guiding clients through the process of creating an irrevocable trust. There are a number of benefits to this type of trust, including:

  •     The use of an irrevocable trust can avoid probate.
  •     In order to control, protect or withhold inheritance, the trust can be left in place even if the grantor dies.
  •     Many times, nonexempt assets are used to pay for nursing home care. An irrevocable trust can prevent this from happening.
  •     An irrevocable trust can hold any type of asset.


Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with an attorney at our Los Angeles area office.

Care and Training

The attorneys and staff at The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard spend a great deal of time working to help train your caregivers. We feel that it is important that you have well-trained, confident, competent and skilled people around you. As we help train your caregivers, our goal is to empower them without you sacrificing any control.

Contact a California Irrevocable Trust Attorney

If you have questions regarding keeping control of your assets in California, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at (310) 823-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Understanding California Medi-Cal vs Medicare

Many individuals are concerned about the skyrocketing costs of nursing homes. Both the state and federal governments have worked to ensure that people have the ability to afford the care and attention they need as they grow older. It is important to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney to explain your options to you.

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, our attorneys have helped clients through a number of different practice areas for 40 years. We have stayed abreast of changing legislation as it relates to elder law and Medi-Cal. For help understanding California Medi-Cal vs Medicare, schedule a consultation with an attorney at our Los Angeles area office.

Medicare

Medicare is a federally funded insurance program that is paid for by Social Security deductions. Eligibility is fairly broad, meaning that anyone over the age of 65 who has made contributions to Social Security is eligible for Medicare. Additionally, disabled individuals who have been eligible for Social Security disability benefits for more than two years are eligible for Medicare. Medicare eligibility is not based on financial need.

Medi-Cal

Medi-Cal is a program that helps eligible individuals pay for medical care. It is a program that combines federal and California funds for qualified individuals. Eligibility for Medi-Cal is always "means-tested," but it is not a poverty program. Many people in a wide range of economic statuses can get help with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney. It is possible for Medi-Cal recipients to also receive assistance from Medicare. The two programs are very complexly related.

For a free financial consultation including the differences between Medi-Cal and Medicare, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with a lawyer at our office. We can explain how Medi-Cal can benefit you in your unique situation.

Contact a Los Angeles Elder Law Attorney

If you have questions regarding Medi-Cal versus Medicare, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at (310) 823-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

California Medi-Cal Lookback Laws

In California, elderly individuals have many options at their disposal to help pay the rising costs of nursing home and long-term medical care. One of these options, unique to California, is Medi-Cal.

The process of filing an application for Medi-Cal, can be confusing. Other aspects such as lookback and recovery can be downright frustrating. Many aspects of Medi-Cal are very complicated and technical, with a high-risk of mistakes and misunderstanding. In the hands of an experienced attorney, however, the process can run smoothly. Clients trust LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard to guide them through the process efficiently.

There are several points about lookback that we typically share with our potential clients, including:

  • California is presently very liberal when it comes to lookback, but the legislation will change soon. People who do not act immediately will not be able to take advantage of the more liberal rules.
  • If you have done any research outside of California or have heard stories from friends or family members in other states, do not pay attention to them. California is completely different than any other state.
  • You control the date when lookback starts. You should wait to submit your medical application until after you have gotten all of your exemptions in place, and made any plans and changes.

Lookback penalties can be very expensive, but they can be avoided. It is wise to seek the counsel of an attorney who understands the process and all of the recent changes to the regulations. Do not hesitate to schedule a consultation at our Los Angeles area office.

Contact a Los Angeles Attorney for Information on Avoiding Lookback Penalties

If you have questions regarding lookback, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at (310) 823-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Qualifying for Medi-Cal

Many individuals are worried about qualifying for Medi-Cal. They are unsure of the actual qualifications, or they have been told unclear information from friends or family members. It is our goal to demystify the program and educate you on the entire process.

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, our lawyers have decades of experience helping clients receive the benefits they are owed while shielding their assets and protecting their families. Through an in-depth investigation, we will examine your finances to get a better understanding of your situation. Matching your financial situation with your desires for the future is only part of our job. Contact us to find out more about Medi-Cal eligibility in California.

Medi-Cal Eligibility and Medi-Cal Qualification in California

Regulations surrounding Medi-Cal are constantly evolving. It is wise to work with an attorney who understands the regulations and stays current with changes. We can advise you whether or not you meet the Medi-Cal qualifications, and we can explain how you can protect your assets.

Currently, the asset limits are set as follows:

For single people, you must have less than $2,000 in cash equivalents in your name.

For married couples, you must have less than $109,560 in cash equivalents in your name.

These asset limits might seem harsh at first glance, but our attorneys can explain how to shield assets and keep control of your finances.

We understand that these applications can be long, confusing and frustrating. In order to ensure our clients are not unjustly penalized or denied care, we will review your completed Medi-Cal application before it is submitted. For qualified individuals, this service is free. Do not hesitate to take advantage of our knowledge and experience to receive the benefits you deserve.

Contact Our Firm

If you have questions regarding Medi-Cal eligibility, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard in Los Angeles. We can be reached at 866-784-5065 or by completing the Contact us on this website. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shielding Assets from Medi-cal

Many individuals fear that shielding assets from Medi-Cal might be wrong, illegal or unethical. In fact, it is ethical, legal and the right thing to do. Seek the counsel of a knowledgeable attorney immediately to learn more about the protections and benefits available to you.

At LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, our lawyers have more than 40 years of experience guiding clients through Medi-Cal asset protection and planning matters in California. Often, decisions can be difficult. Our goal is to provide information about the programs and their benefits in an effort to help you make the right choice for your future and your family's well-being.

Our goal in shielding your assets is similar to legally minimizing your taxes. We work to maximize your governmental benefits while protecting you from one of your biggest potential creditors — the government. Through our planning, we also work to protect you against bankruptcy, business losses and accidents. We work with the government in mind and pay special attention to property taxes, income taxes and estate taxes. It has to be done right, however, so you can avoid severe penalties and potential fines. An experienced California attorney can help you shield your assets while avoiding spend-down.

Contact Our Firm

If you have questions regarding shielding assets from Medi-Cal, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at (310) 823-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Avoiding Spend Down in California

With the rising costs of quality nursing home care, many elderly citizens are concerned about their ability to pay for the care and attention they need. Many programs exist such as Veterans' Benefits, Medicare and Medi-Cal to help with health care costs. Unfortunately, many of these programs carry an asset limit that might exclude an individual from benefits. Our firm can show you the best ways of avoiding spend-down in California and still qualify for aid.

Spend-down? Don't do it!

In California, spend-down is a government statutory phrase that does not mean what you think it means. Essentially, the notion of spend-down is that an elderly individual will spend money and give away assets until he or she reaches the appropriate asset limit for Medi-Cal. Many individuals will take this literally, but that is not the case. Spend-down is more about organizing your assets and making them legally exempt.

With the help of a knowledgeable attorney at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard, many clients can keep control of their assets while making them exempt from the asset limitation calculation.

Calculating spend-down is a complicated process, and it is best explained by a lawyer during a specialized consultation. The calculation contains several variables such as your Medi-Cal reimbursement, transfers and exempt versus nonexempt assets. Do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Contact a Los Angeles Medi-Cal Eligibility Attorney

If you have questions regarding avoiding spend-down, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with a lawyer at LA Elder Law and The Law Office of Joseph C. Girard. We can be reached at (310) 823-3943. Evening and Saturday consultations are available by appointment. Free consultations are available to qualified individuals.


Friday, September 07, 2012

What to Consider When Choosing a Long-Term Care Living Situation for your Loved One

Choosing a long-term care living arrangement is one of the most difficult challenges faced by aging adults and their loved ones.  Most families try to avoid the nursing home option to the very end, believing that assisted living or small residential care homes provide a better quality of life.  But this may not necessarily be the case.

New research suggests that the type of living situation itself makes little difference in a resident’s emotional well-being. Instead, the happiness and contentment of the resident depends more on the characteristics of the specific environment they’re in, and of course in no small part on their own personal characteristics — how healthy they feel they are, their age, and even their marital status.

Logically enough, a resident of a long-term care facility of any kind is more likely to report satisfaction and comfort if they had a hand in choosing their living situation, if they were part of the decision making process. In fact, studies show that the process of finding and choosing a living situation—researching options, visiting facilities, considering current and future social and physical needs and how they will be met—plays a very important role in the beginning of acclimatization.

Whatever your choice, you’ll need to talk to your family and plan how to finance whichever choice is made for long-term care living.  Medicare.gov has published a helpful chart summarizing and comparing the various options for long-term care financing. Or please feel free to contact our office for more information.


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