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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Business Owners - Do You Have a Business Succession Plan?


Developing a business succession plan is an important step in the estate planning process. Business owners should have a comprehensive business succession plan that covers a variety of scenarios, including retirement, injury, illness, inheritance, and selling the business. A Read more . . .


Monday, December 10, 2018

Five Reasons to Plan in Advance for Medicaid Asset Protection


Many people assume they will live at home until their deaths and will not need long-term care. Other people assume they will not need long-term care for many years, so they have ample time to plan for nursing home care or assisted living. However, you never know when you may need long-term care. Depending on your situation, long-term care can be extremely expensive. For your family, the cost of long-term care can be an overwhelming financial burden.
Read more . . .


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Talking To Your Family About Your Estate Plan


How can I bring up the topic of estate planning to my loved ones?

You’ve taken the vital step of creating an estate plan, but now it is time to talk to your family about your last wishes.  Broaching the subject of estate planning with your loved ones can be daunting. After all, estate planning involves delicate subjects like who will receive what assets and with whom you have entrusted the care of your minor children.  Below is a look at some tips on how you can approach the discussion of Read more . . .


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Can a Spouse Contest a Medical Power of Attorney?


Anyone can contest a Medical Power of Attorney, but the question is whether the person would succeed in contesting your wishes. Everyone has the right to make decisions related to their future medical care, including appointing a trusted person to act as their agent if they are unable to make decisions or enforce prior decisions for themselves. Therefore, if your Medical Power of Attorney meets all state laws, including the California Health Care Decisions Law, your spouse should not be able to contest your decisions.

Working with an experienced Read more . . .


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Does the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affect Your Tax Savings Plan?


One of the goals of an effective estate plan is to decrease or eliminate taxes for your heirs. When Congress passed the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), there was a lot of discussion about various elements of the TCJA and how it impacted the average worker.  However, there was not as much discussion about whether the TCJA impacted estate planning. As with any new law related to taxes, it is important to review your tax savings plan with your Read more . . .


Friday, October 19, 2018

VA Makes it More Difficult for Veterans to Qualify for Long Term Care Benefits

As if it wasn’t already difficult to obtain needed benefits, veterans must face a new hurdle put into place by the Department of Veteran Affairs. In a new rule finalized this month, the VA has added a number of new limits and requirements to a number of veteran’s benefits programs, including aid and attendance.

What are Aid and Attendance Benefits?

Aid and attendance benefits are additional funds paid to eligible veterans and their spouses in addition to pension payments. These benefits are available so long as you meet certain conditions, which include:

  • requiring assistance from another for activities of everyday living, like feeding, dressing, protection, bathing, and using the toilet
  • being bedridden for convalescence or treatment
  • being incapacitated and living in a nursing home
  • having eyesight limited to 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes (corrected), or a 5% reduced visual field.

Read more . . .


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Veteran’s Affairs Implements New Regulations for Needs Based VA Benefits

What is the net worth limit for receipt of a VA pension?

Pension benefits can greatly assist U.S. veterans who demonstrate financial need.  Recently, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced new regulations governing the net worth requirements for veterans, as well as income exclusions and asset transfers.  It is expected that the changed law will allow more veterans to qualify for benefits.  Our San Ramon, California veteran’s benefits attorneys explore the new laws and what they might mean for veterans seeking pension benefits.


Read more . . .


Monday, October 8, 2018

What is 'Swedish death cleaning' and should you be doing it?

Swedish Death Cleaning - Organizing Your Life Before You Pass On

If you’ve ever dealt with an estate after the death of a family member or close friend, you may understand the overwhelming task of dealing with what was left behind. Unless your loved one was a staunch minimalist with a Type-A personality and a near-obsessive organizational streak, you most likely had a lot of “stuff” to deal with, as well as a needle-in-a-haystack experience of finding everything you needed to in order to settle the estate. When a loved one dies, their physical and financial “stuff” remains -- and you must sort it out.

Enter Margareta Magnusson, a Swedish author who has brought “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” to the United States. In her book, "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Make Your Loved Ones’ Lives Easier and Your On Life More Pleasant” she describes in detail how you can arrange your life beforehand in a way that, not only takes stress from your own life, but helps your loved ones manage your estate once you’ve passed.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

California Children Could Benefit from Tax Laws on Inherited Property

What properties are eligible for a tax-free transfer in California?

California currently boasts several tax laws that could greatly benefit children who inherit property from their parents. State laws are protecting children from tax increases on inherited homes, which is thought to be impacting the availability of housing in the state. The California tax break, which was passed in 1986, allows parents to transfer their primary residence to their children. The transferred home will not need to be reassessed for property tax reasons. This law, particularly in the state of California where so many houses are held in families for generations, could save children potentially tens of thousands of dollars.


Read more . . .


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Three New Scams Aimed At Senior Citizens

Anyone can be the victim of a scam. Scam artists are very cunning and intelligent. They use technology to their advantage to gain information about seniors that help them to take advantage of seniors.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Will My Parents' Trust Assets Be Taken if They File for Bankruptcy?

As a general rule, every asset that you own should be included as part of your bankruptcy estate. If your parents are filing bankruptcy, this rule will apply to them as well—unless they have a specific type of trust.

Children may be particularly interested in this issue because when parents file bankruptcy, it may put their inheritance at risk. With proper planning, however, trust assets may be safe from creditors, even when a parent files bankruptcy.


Read more . . .


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