Increased 2024 VA Aid and Attendance amounts for 1/1/2024

Aid And Attendance (A&A) Pension 2024

The increase for monthly/annually benefits is as following:

Two Veterans/Spouses:  $3649 per month  $43,790 annually

Married Veteran:  $2727 per month  $32,728 annually

Single Veteran:  $2300 per month and $27,608 annually

Widow: $1478 per month and $17,742 annually

We continue to have Family Training the first and third Wednesday of every month for education on Medicare, Medi-Cal and VA. How do you use one or more the public benefits? This seminar is FREE and there are no insurance products or financial product part of the training. Plan now and don’t wait for the crisis.  Learn how to protect your retirement nest egg.

Click here for more details about our Family Training:

Register for the next Family Training or call 916-524-5151 to talk VA Accredited Claim’s Agent.

Just a reminder, it is STILL illegal to charge to assist Veterans, Widows of War Veteran, and their families with their VA Applications. Many families are report and experiencing unqualified people charging $3000 to $10,000 to have application completed.

Aging In Place and Caregiving

Aging at home with caregiving refers to the practice of elderly individuals continuing to live in
their own homes while receiving assistance and support from caregivers. It is a popular choice for many seniors who prefer to remain in familiar surroundings as they age. Caregiving can take different forms, ranging from family members providing care to hiring professional caregivers or using home care services.

Here are some important aspects to consider when aging at home with caregiving:

Caregiver Support:
Determine the level of caregiving support needed based on the individual’s health condition and functional abilities. This can include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, medication management, mobility support and transferring.

Home Modifications:
Assess the home environment for any necessary modifications to enhance safety and accessibility. This may involve installing grab bars in the bathroom, ramps or handrails for stairs, non-slip flooring, adequate lighting, and removing tripping hazards.

Medical Care:
Ensure access to medical care by coordinating with healthcare professionals who can make home visits or provide telemedicine services. This includes regular check-ups, medication management, and monitoring chronic conditions.

Social Engagement:
Combat social isolation by encouraging regular social interactions. This can be achieved through visits from family and friends, participation in community activities, joining senior centers or clubs, or utilizing technology for virtual connections.

Respite Care:
Caregivers also need periodic breaks to prevent burnout. Plan for respite care, where temporary substitute caregivers can step in to provide assistance, allowing the primary caregiver to take time off for personal needs or rest.

Emotional Support:
Aging at home can sometimes be emotionally challenging for both the senior and the caregiver. Seek emotional support through counseling, support groups, or therapy to address any stress, anxiety, or feelings of isolation.

Safety Measures:
Implement safety measures such as emergency response systems, wearable medical alert devices, and regular safety checks to ensure prompt assistance in case of emergencies or accidents.

Financial Considerations:
Assess the financial aspects of aging at home with caregiving. This includes evaluating healthcare costs, home modifications, and potential expenses related to caregiving services. Explore insurance coverage, government assistance programs, and long-term care options to support financial planning.

Caregiver Training and Education:
If family members are involved in caregiving, ensure they receive appropriate training and education to understand the senior’s needs, proper caregiving techniques, and how to manage potential health issues.

Regular Reevaluation:
Continuously assess the evolving needs of the elderly individual and adjust the caregiving arrangements accordingly. Periodic evaluations can help identify any necessary changes to the caregiving plan and ensure the well-being of the senior.

Remember, aging at home with caregiving requires careful planning, open communication, and a supportive network to ensure the safety, well-being, and quality of life for both the elderly individual and the caregiver. Consulting with healthcare professionals, geriatric care managers, and social workers can provide valuable guidance in navigating this process.

Need advice on caring for your aging parents? Give us a call at 916-524-5151.

Will my ex control our child’s inheritance?

After a marriage ends, everyone has to adapt to a new way of life. For many going through the divorce process, their main concerns are focused on the “here and now.” Many are fighting over finances to make ends meet; some are fighting custody battles, and some are fighting both.

Once court orders are signed and the dust begins to settle, many people focus on moving forward and getting on with their lives. They would rather not continue thinking about the divorce’s legal logistics.

Yet, within a relatively short period, it will cross a new divorcee’s mind “Will my ex get my assets if I die and leave it all to our children?”

The answer depends on your circumstances and how your estate plan is set up. For example, do you have a Will or a Trust? Are your children minors or adults? Will a Guardianship or Conservatorship be necessary?

The best answer regarding how your ex will be involved is to consult an attorney. If you are newly divorced or never updated or executed an estate plan following your divorce, you will want to discuss with them how to ensure that your assets are handled how you want them to be.

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Planning for your Assets

Are you finally ready to sit down and get comfortable having the uncomfortable talk? Then it is time to prepare for the conversation to be as comprehensive and productive as possible.

To effectively plan for your future and create a plan to protect what’s yours, you must first start with a complete list of your assets. If you are meeting with an estate planning attorney or a financial planner, it may be advised that you have a copy of the most recent statements and documents related to your assets.

The following is a list of commonly held assets that should be included in your conversation:

•            Investment or brokerage accounts

•            Cash and bank accounts

•            Retirement accounts

•            Real Estate and other valuables

•            Succession planning for businesses

•            Life insurance policies

Once you have compiled this information and thought about who you would like to leave these assets to, you are ready to make a solid plan to protect and preserve your legacy.

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Estate Planning for Snowbirds

Businesspeople planning on a glass wall

As a snowbird, deciding where you would like to split your time is an important decision. However, the second most important decision you should make is which place is the best place to establish residency. 

You may have always dreamed of leaving the cold winters behind to live part of the year where the sun always shines. If you have managed to financially prepare for this lifestyle, nothing should get in the way of living your dream. But there are some essential things you should know and consider. 

  • Establish residency in the state that offers you the best benefits after death. As many as 32 states currently have no estate tax. States like Florida and Texas have no estate tax or state income tax. No wonder they are popular retirement destinations. 
  • Consider the probate procedures in each state before you establish residency. Some snowbirds own property in both states, therefore subject to probate proceedings twice. Things can get mighty complicated and costly quickly. 
  • Consult with an estate planning attorney in each state before you give up your residency status in one state to establish residency in another. An attorney will be able to advise you on state laws and on ways to protect your assets. 

Living a snowbird lifestyle is a popular choice for many retirees. Still, careful consideration should be given to the impact it might have on your estate planning and the ability to protect your assets during your life and after your death. 

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Advance Directives for young adults

A common misconception is that advance directives are only for the elderly or sickly people. Many people falsely believe that advance directives are only needed as we age and start having health problems.

That could not be further from the truth. Everyone over 18 should have advance directives.

Why? Accidents and emergencies happen every day. It’s better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario than to be caught unprepared.

It becomes an important issue for parents as they prepare to send their offspring to college. Advance directives should be an essential part of planning for college and adulthood.

Without the proper planning and directives, parents can face a difficult situation if their children are sick or injured. For example, the hospital may refuse to release information because there is no healthcare surrogate on file. Or worse, care may be postponed because there was no authorized person to make critical healthcare decisions.

You never want to be in a situation where the health of your loved ones is hanging in the balance because no advance directives are giving the hospital permission to treat or release information.

If you have a child going away to college or recently became an adult, contact our office to discuss having a set of advance directives prepared for your new young adult.

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Is your loved one caught in a sweetheart scam?

The number of scammers and wrongdoers in our world who prey on the elderly is quite shocking. According to the AARP, scams against the elderly are at an all-time high.

We often hear about tax scams, credit card scams, and other frauds committed against the elderly, but what happens when your loved one’s heart is being scammed?

Loneliness and fear can often make our elderly loved ones susceptible to abuse and scams. Especially in the case of widows, adjusting to life alone can be pretty difficult. Unfortunately, these difficulties can cause our loved ones to “let their guard down” and become easy prey for ill-intentioned people.

More often lately, we hear of older adults getting scammed out of their life savings by people who pretend to fall in love with them. Sadly, our loved ones are so blinded by their loneliness and desperation that they fail to see the hidden agendas of these dangerous vultures.

If you suspect that your loved one may have fallen victim to a sweetheart scam, you must act immediately but with compassion. There are steps to be taken to protect your loved ones and their finances, but you should not navigate it on your own.

Instead, you should enlist the help of local law enforcement (if you believe laws are being broken) and local elder abuse services. Further, you should enlist the help of an Elder Law attorney to help protect against future damage.

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Dying in debt: What happens next?

It’s no secret that millions of Americans are struggling with debt. Most Americans start accruing debt in early adulthood and continue to pay off and accrue more debt over the course of their lives. 

But what happens to all that debt if a person dies unexpectedly, or if an elderly person dies with massive debt? 

When a person dies, any creditor with legal claims can place a claim against the decedent’s estate. Those claims become part of the process of probating the estate. 

Assuming that there are assets in the estate to pay the claims, a Judge will eventually oversee the payment of any valid claims before closing the estate and discharging the Executor.

Sometimes a person dies with more debt than there are assets to distribute. Then what?

In most cases, a Judge will decide on pro-rata shares to be distributed to the claimants. That means that each claimant would receive a portion of their total claim, based on the total value of the assets in the case. 

In cases where there is debt and there are no assets, those claimants will be forced to take a loss on the unsecured debt. 

If you are concerned about a loved one’s debt and the implications it could have on their estate contact our office to discuss your individual situation.

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Don’t wait for a crisis to occur

When it comes to managing your healthcare, the law makes it very clear about who can and cannot receive updates on your status, talk to medical professionals about your care, and help make critical medical decisions. These laws help protect your private information, but they also can make it difficult for your loved ones to help care for you.

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure your caregivers will have access to your records and be able to make decisions on your behalf when the time comes. Still, you must establish these legal permissions before they are needed.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they need legal documents to be able to help with the care of a loved one until it is too late.

Here are three documents you should consider having drafted to ensure that your caregivers have the authority to receive information and to make decisions for you when you are unable:

  • HIPAA Authorization Form – The HIPAA Act was enacted to keep medical information and records private. Upon execution of the document, you authorize doctors and other medical professionals to share important information with approved agents.
  • Power of Attorney – You may also hear this referred to as a durable power of attorney. It is a legal document that enables you to appoint a trusted friend or relative to handle transactions and make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to act independently. In many instances, having a power of attorney helps prevent a loved one or caregiver from becoming financially responsible for your debts or liabilities.

  • Advanced Health Care Directive: You have probably also heard this document be referred to as a living will. It lets you record your wishes for end-of-life care. A living will spells out specific treatments that you can either accept or decline under specific circumstances. A living will provides comfort to the decision-maker, as it gives reassurance that your wishes are honored.

Once a healthcare emergency occurs, its usually too late to create these documents. Avoid unnecessary confusion and stress for your loved ones by talking to them now and getting these documents in place.

An elder law attorney can help answer your questions about these documents and help you get them in place before a crisis arises. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Compensating a family caregiver

Design space on black board

It is estimated that 48 million Americans are caring for an adult family member or friend and are spending an average of 24 hours per week providing the necessary services.

For a range of reasons, some families will decide to take on the caregiving role for a loved one to allow them to age at home rather than going into a facility. However, as the loved ones’ needs increase, so will the demands on the caregiver. As a result, caregiving quickly and often becomes a full-time job all of its own.

Not only are the caregivers spending their time providing the necessary care for a loved one, but it was also found they are incurring out-of-pocket expenses to help maintain the care of the person. AARP estimates that 78 percent of caregivers spend an average of $7,200 annually. This figure does not include unpaid leave a caregiver may have taken from their career to step into this role or their inability to save for their own retirement.

Many families are unaware there are options and ways to be compensated, even when caring for a family or friend. The chances of being paid are best if the person you are caring for is a Veteran or Medicaid eligible, but other options do exist.

If you, or someone you know, are caring for a loved one, an Elder Law (or Estate Planning) attorney can review your case and recommend options available for compensating you as a family caregiver. It is a complex situation with potential tax implications and can affect benefit eligibility. An attorney can assist you with covering all these issues and giving you peace of mind.

We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.