We Answer Some Frequently Asked Questions About Estate Planning
- Page 4
How do I schedule a meeting with you?
You can call our warm and welcoming Client Services Director, Bonnie Johnson at (949) 718-0420 to schedule a time to meet with us. New clients typically attend a no pressure/no obligation Planning Session where they meet with a member of our team and we determine what their legal needs are next best steps.
My loved one is starting to become confused and forgetful, and needs more and more help handling their financial and medical decisions. What are the options?
Ideally, if your loved one still has mental capacity and understands the significance and ramifications of sharing or transferring decision making power to you, your loved one will execute legal documents that allow you to make their medical and financial decisions for them, without the need of obtaining court intervention or approval.
My loved one has lost mental capacity and does not have any legal documents in place. What are my options?
If your loved one has already lost full mental capacity, you may need to seek a legal conservatorship over your loved one, so you can make medical and financial decisions on his or her behalf.
My loved one is already in a health care crisis. Is it too late to plan?
No. While we may not have as many options, we still have powerful legal options that can help your loved one secure financial assistance and care assistance for your loved one that will allow them to age with dignity and receive a high quality of care.
My father was a veteran. Can my parents qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance Benefits?
The VA Aid and Attendance benefit is available for both the veteran, and the surviving spouse, who need assistance with daily living, if the veteran served at least three months in the service during war-time where one day of combat took place, even if the veteran was not in the actual combat. There is, however, a financial threshold for eligibility. Using strong powers of attorneys, trusts, and gifting, we can usually help a veteran or surviving spouse qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance benefit without having to first exhaust all financial resources. If your loved one needs assistance with their daily living activities, you should contact us right away to learn about the benefits that may be available to you, even if you still have assets and resources of your own.
I heard I have too much income and assets to qualify for benefits and will need to spend everything down before qualifying. Is that true?
Typically, most government benefits available to seniors require the senior to have a very limited amount of resources available to them. Our legal planning tools allow us to ethically and legally help your loved one obtain these resources without having to spend everything down to meet the program’s typical eligibility requirements. Knowing your legal options is extremely powerful and allows you to take advantage of programs that on the surface may not seem available to you.
My parent or spouse is going into a long-term care facility and we are worried about funding their care and eventually running out of money. What are the options?
Using strong powers of attorneys, trusts, and gifting strategies, we can help your loved one’s secure government benefits such as Medi-Cal or the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit, long before they go broke paying for long-term care. If your loved one has been diagnosed with a long- term care issue, or needs assistance with their daily living activities, you should contact us right away to learn about the benefits that may be available to you, even if you still have assets and resources of your own.
Can you help me apply for government benefits for my child?
Meier law Firm provides the legal services and tools necessary to help your child become eligible for government benefits. However, we work closely with professionals who can assist you with applying for government benefits.
My child with special needs is now an adult. Can I still make decisions for my adult child with special needs?
Once a person turns eighteen, the law presumes that he or she is an adult with full capability to make decisions. For adult children with special needs, parents (or another caregiver) will need to go through a court process known as a conservatorship to continue to make decisions for an adult child. . We can help you through the process of obtaining a conservatorship over your child.
Does an ABLE account take the place of a special needs trust?
No. ABLE accounts are new tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. They allow individuals to save money without their funds being considered for purposes of qualifying for government benefits. The individual’s disability must have onset before the individual was age 26. The max amount you can currently keep in an ABLE account without it being counted toward government benefit income requirements is $100,000. There is also a payback provision, meaning if the individual passes away while money is still in the account, it must go to payback government benefits. For these reasons, ABLE accounts may be an attractive option for individuals with disabilities who want to save and spend money from a job, or save and spend money gifted to them by family and friends, but is not the appropriate vehicle to receive an inheritance.