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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

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.

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Handling Estate Planning With a Terminal Illness

More people are beginning to work with a California estate-planning lawyer to develop an estate plan earlier in life. Our clients have expressed the desire to have a plan that protects their family and their property in case of their death. However, what happens if a person is diagnosed with a terminal illness before the individual has an estate plan? Is it too late to meet with a...


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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Important Messages to Convey to Your Loved Ones

Do your loved ones know where your will is located?

At times, even people who have taken the critical step of making an estate plan fail to provide their loved ones with the information they will need to execute that plan. Whether it is through an oversight or intentional secrecy, leaving your loved ones out of the estate planning process can create complications.


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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cryptocurrency and Estate-Planning - What You Need to Know

One of the goals of effective estate planning is to ensure that all your assets are included in the plan. Assets may be distributed through your will, a trust agreement, jointly titled property, or a beneficiary designation. However, the key is to identify all assets and ensure those assets are accounted for somewhere in your estate plan. Your California asset protection lawyer can help you devise a plan to distribute your assets after your death, but only if your attorney knows about the assets.

Therefore, do not forget to list cryptocurrency as an asset for estate planning purposes.


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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Five Things You Can Do Before Death to Make Life Easier for Your Loved Ones

Thinking about our own mortality is not a pleasant thought for many individuals. However, our deaths are inevitable. Therefore, instead of focusing on your death, you can focus on ways you can make your passing easier for your loved ones.


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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Seven Do's and Don'ts of Medi Cal Planning

California administers federal Medicaid funds through its Medi-Cal program.


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