What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse

Most people who have a loved one who is a resident of a nursing home are concerned they may be subjected to abuse or neglect.  Unfortunately, we have all heard tragic stories about elderly patients in long-term care facilities being robbed, physically abused, or neglected.  If you have a family member in a nursing home, [ ] The post What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse appeared first on Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law.


The History of the Federal Estate Tax

There are many people who have ideological difficulties with the fairness of the federal estate tax. Where does this idea come from? Throughout your life, you pay taxes on your income, and this includes investment income, even though you make investments with assets that you have left over after paying income taxes. Of course, there are also property taxes, sales tax on your purchases, and somewhat hidden taxes on things like energy, communication, hospitality, gasoline, alcohol, tobacco, etc., etc., etc. Whatever you have left to pass along to your loved ones after you pass away is a remainder that you still have in your possession after paying all of these taxes throughout your life.  The people who feel that the estate tax is unfair wonder why your death should also be a taxable event. Memory Lane Apparently, this logic made sense to a majority of legislators until 1916. This is when the estate tax was first enacted. At first, people would give gifts to their loved ones to avoid t


Top Three Estate Planning Misconceptions

Far too many people are not properly prepared from an estate planning perspective, and the inaction often stems from some widely embraced misconceptions. In this blog post we will look at three of them so that you can understand the facts and take the appropriate actions to protect your family. Estate Planning Is Only Relevant to Senior Citizens One of the most damaging misconceptions out there is the idea that estate planning is only important for people who have reached an advanced age. Clearly, if you don t have an estate plan in place when you are 75 years old, you probably ought to get started sooner rather than later. At the same time, estate planning is actually important for all responsible adults. If you are married, you have someone depending on you, and this dynamic is significantly amplified if you have children. When you plan your estate, you make sure that your loved ones have something to draw from if the unthinkable was to take place. Even if you are single, you should


What Is the Nomination of a Guardian?

Some people look at estate planning as something that is only relevant to senior citizens. In fact, it could be argued that estate planning is more important for younger adults, especially parents with dependent children. If you are a young parent, what would happen to your children if both parents were to pass away together in an accident? This question is even more profound if you are single. This possible scenario is one reason why estate planning is important for younger adults. To account for this type of situation, you could nominate a guardian when you create a last will. If your children were ever in need of guardianship, it is likely that the court would empower the guardian that was nominated in the will to care for the children. Adult Conservatorship In some states, a guardian could be appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated adult. We practice law in California, and things are somewhat different in our state. In California, a guardian would ma


What Is a First Party Special Needs Trust?

People with special needs are typically enrolled in the Medicaid program. This is a government health insurance program that is administered by each state government along with the federal government. We practice law in the state of California, and in our state, the program is called Medi-Cal. Clearly, health insurance is going to be particularly important for people with special needs. In some cases, care and treatment can cost millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. Medi-Cal is a need-based program that is only available to people who have very limited financial resources. Many individuals with disabilities are unable to work, so these folks do in fact have financial limitations, and they can qualify for Medi-Cal coverage. There is another government program that many people rely upon called Supplemental Security Income. The name of the program explains its purpose: SSI provides a source of income for disabled people who are unable to earn much on their own. If a benefit


Should I Create a Joint Tenancy With My Child?

Most people are aware of the fact that there are legally binding documents like wills and trusts that are used to facilitate postmortem asset transfers.These legal devices can be quite effective, but there are some asset transfers that would take place organically, even if there were no estate planning documents in place. Joint Tenancy One way that assets can be transferred without the existence of estate planning documents would be through joint tenancy. A joint tenant is a co-owner of property. To provide an example, if you own a home, you could add your daughter to the title or deed of the property. She would become a joint tenant. Joint tenancy typically comes with right of survivorship. Because of this, after your death, your daughter would inherit the entirety of the home. This would be true if you had no estate planning documents, and it would be true if you had a last will. We should plan out the fact that this transfer would not be subject to the legal process of probate. If