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    Baby Boomer Publishing


Elder Law

Who Does Elder Law Affect?

Elder law affects all those persons that are closest to us – all of the most precious people in our lives. This means your mother and father, grandpa and grandma, and everyone else in the family circle, including neighbors and friends. And yes, it will some day include you.

All of these people deserve respect and are entitled to be treated with dignity. For that reason the practice of elder law has a much more personal side to it than any other field of legal expertise.

Clients are normally introduced to elder law as a result of one of their older family members beginning to lose “capacity” to think for themselves. This does not mean all the time; they have good days and bad days, but gradually the symptoms of dementia are creeping into their lives.

There's much more...

Undue Influence Of A Caregiver

There is an entire history of undue influence and abuse which is the basis of the “Elder Abuse Laws.” All of it surrounds the issue of an older person’s “competency” and another person’s undue influence on the incompetent. Listed below are many of the acts used as tell-tale signs of undue influence by a caregiver:

• Withholding mail;
• Withholding telephone messages;
• Limiting visitation by friends and family;
• Discussing transactions at inappropriate times and places;

There's much more...

Capacity To Sign Power Of Attorney Or Health Care Directive

The biggest issue in any elder law case is going to be whether or not the Mom or Dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa or the neighbor next door had the “competency” or “capacity” (the terms are used interchangeably) to sign the documents distributing power or property at the “time” they signed the documents.

There are three levels of capacity:

1. Testamentary capacity;
2. Contractual capacity; and
3. Donor Capacity.

Of these three capacities “testamentary” requires the least amount of competency and “donor” requires the most.

There's much more...

Planning For Medi-Cal (Medic-Aid) For Long Term Care

Assume that your father whom you love so dearly is beginning to “wander” as he becomes increasingly unable to manage his affairs due to Alzheimer’s disease. He is going to need long term health care in a skilled nursing facility, or perhaps even a “secure parameter facility.” That is one of every family’s worse nightmares. The average time spent in such a facility is three years. The average expense is $4,000 to $7,000 per month.

In preparation for such a calamity it is widely assumed that a person with substantial assets would not be eligible for the federally funded health insurance program. This is known as “Medic-Aid” throughout the United States, but is called “Medi-Cal” in California. Owning assets does not disqualify a person from Medi-Cal.

It is important for everyone to understand that Medi-Cal benefits can be available for almost every Baby Boomer as long as steps are taken to plan for it; and it is not too late to plan for your parents.

There's much more...

Moral Issues?

There may be some moral issues regarding a beneficiary’s responsibility to pay the money back to the state; or to the fact that an applicant may have transferred property out of their estate in the first place to become eligible for Medi-Cal. But California has a liberal policy regarding these issues and it can only be expected that a client will use the laws available to them.

For example, the state determines eligibility of an applicant by examining the value of their assets. In order to become eligible for Medi-Cal the applicant can only have “countable assets” that fall below the $2,000 limit.

There's much more...

Transferring Your Parent’s House To You – A Capital Gains Conundrum

In the majority of cases where the parent transfers a house to their child during their lifetime it creates a capital gains conundrum. The child receives an immediate benefit upon receiving the house because the state does not reassess the value of the home for tax purposes on a parent-child transfer. (It doesn’t reassess on a child-parent transfer either.) Therefore, the child pays no increased property tax.

But, if the child wants to sell the house their parents gifted to them, they are going to be hard hit by long term capital gains.

Suppose your parents bought a three bedroom house in 1956 for $10,000 and it is now worth $880,000. (Those are very realistic numbers in Southern California.) Your parents have been renting the house for the last three years and now decide to gift the house to you.

There's much more...

Future Changes For The Inheritance Tax Exemption

As you have seen in the chart under How The Federal Exemption Tax Works, the exemption law is scheduled to end after the year 2010. Nobody knows exactly what Congress will do after 2010 and the mystery makes it very difficult to plan.

You cannot plan on what you think Congress might do. The talk amongst professionals is that the exemption will come to rest between $2 million and $4 million. Nevertheless, the exemption is presently scheduled to return to $1 million after 2010, although there is even talk of Congress extending the repeal from 2010 to 2016 in order to buy more time.

There's much more...

An Insider's Guide to Estate Planning



    Why pay money so an attorney can try and explain the difference between a Bypass Trust and a QTIP Trust, when this book will answer that question long before you have to pay for a consultation?

    This guidebook helps you map out your estate plan so it goes exactly where you want it to go. It explains the tools you need to give away or preserve your money, homes, businesses, heirlooms, cars, boats, jewelry, tools, art, memorabilia, and every other artifact of life you have accumulated over the last 45 to 65 baby booming years.

(Proud Father of the Bride)

Mark S. Cornwall, Esq.
210 E. Figueroa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101