What Does Elder Law Include?
Elder law incorporates end of life matters like estate planning, probate, wills, trusts and in California, Medi-Cal planning. As we begin to near the late stages of our lives, there will come a time when it is necessary for us to speak with a life care attorney in order to plan what is going to happen concerning the future care of our children, spouse, pets, and assets upon our death or our untimely incapacitation.
Probate is the process of going through a deceased person’s entire estate in a court of law, notifying their heirs, distributing each of their assets, and paying any and all of their debts. When an individual dies, there are options available for avoiding the expenses of probate, if proper estate planning happened before their death. A Tarzana life planning and elder law attorney can aid you in using trusts and other tools to avoid probate and ease some of the turmoil that your loved ones will have to endure after you are gone.
As we approach the later stages of life, many people find themselves in need of long term nursing home care. The average cost of residing in a nursing home in California is $8,000 per month. Many California residents require the assistance of Medi-Cal coverage in order to be able to afford this type of long term care. Medi-Cal, however puts forth very strict income and asset limitations that must be met in order to qualify for the program.
If you or family member has not taken the time to properly plan for when Medi-Cal coverage and nursing home care becomes necessary, they may not qualify for Medi-Cal coverage and then find themselves having to lose most of their income and assets in order to qualify for care. This is not necessary. The Medi-Cal planning attorneys at The Estate Planning Law Center in Tarzana, California can help you set up your assets and income in advance, in a way in which you will qualify for Medi-Cal while also saving as many of your assets and as much of your income as possible.
Why Would Anyone Need An Elder Law Attorney?
Probate and elder law are two intersecting and very complex areas of law with technical rules and regulations. In many California courthouses, it is not even permissible for an individual to attempt to probate an estate without the help of an elder law attorney due to the amount of errors that are simply unavoidable for people without legal training.
If you find yourself in the stressful setting of facing a family member’s developing need for nursing home care and you can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars on it each month, you need help. The precise details of Medi-Cal planning, especially when the situation has become an emergency, require a truly experienced California elder law attorney. The fact of the matter is that you are not likely to be taken seriously by any nursing home without a lawyer.
Myths and Misconceptions About Estate Planning:
- Only the elderly or the ill should really worry about having a will
For many people, making a will is at the very bottom of their list of things to do, if it’s on their list at all. Oftentimes, these people see making a will as something they don’t yet need to do; they think they can wait until they’re older, sick, or at least until they have children to look after. The truth of the matter is that accidents and illnesses can strike anyone at any time, which means that every adult should have a will, regardless of their age or health status, and regardless of whether they have children.
- In the event that someone dies without a will, all of their assets will be given to the state
In the absence of a will, state law will dictate which family members receive the decedent’s assets. Dying without a will is often referred to as dying “intestate,” and the procedure for distributing the assets will vary from state to state. In Tarzana, CA, a decedent’s assets pass through intestate succession in an order that’s dependent upon the closest surviving family members at the time of their death. For example, if someone dies without a will and has children but no spouse, then all of their assets would be inherited by their children. An experienced elder law attorney in Tarzana, CA is the best resource for anyone who has questions about an impending intestate succession.
- Probate is always a very lengthy process
It’s true that in some cases, probate can take years. However, most estates can go through the probate process in Tarzana, CA relatively quickly, especially with the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable elder law attorney. Probate cases that can take years to resolve usually involve one or more of the following:
- Unresolvable disputes between heirs, such as a disagreement about how an inheritance should be split among siblings, or the proper interpretation of a will
- An estate that is so large that federal or state estate taxes are owed
- An estate that continues to receive income after the death
- Probate is so expensive that it will cost close to or even more than the value of the estate
It is a common misconception that probate is incredibly expensive, especially after attorney’s fees have been paid. This leads many people to believe that they will be left with virtually nothing once the process is complete, which only adds to the dread of having to deal with it at all. The truth is that in most cases in Tarzana, CA, probate will only cost about five percent of the value of the estate—and that’s including the cost of filing, publishing the necessary notices, and having an elder law attorney ensure that everything runs smoothly. There are, however, a couple of circumstances which could give rise to significant costs. To determine how you may be able to avoid them, speak with an elder law attorney in Tarzana, CA.
Why Hire An Attorney From The Estate Planning Law Center?
Estate planning can be a very delicate matter. The issues surrounding estate planning and elder law force people to acknowledge their own mortality and that of their friends and family. These are uncomfortable issues that also require discussing private and personal details about our lives, personal family matters, and finances. As you lay down the official plans for what is supposed to happen to all the things that you’ve worked hard for upon the event of your death in Tarzana, CA, you will undoubtedly require an elder law attorney you can trust. The Estate Planning Law Center will expertly handle your estate planning case with complete care and without judgment. Our group of seasoned elder law and life planning attorneys will listen to you and to precisely what you wish for your California estate. We offer to-the-point communication and you will never have to face leaving our office still unsure of what might happen to your family when you are no longer present to care for them. It is imperative to start Medi-Cal and estate planning as early in life as you possibly can. Call The Estate Planning Law Center today.