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Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Friday, February 26, 2021

Avoiding Confusion in a Crisis with Proper Estate Planning


The sudden death or incapacitation of a loved one can be overwhelming. It can also create a financial crisis for the family. Without a comprehensive estate plan, a spouse may be unable to access accounts and funds the family needs to pay bills and living expenses. There could be confusion about who has the authority to make crucial decisions. The crisis can be avoided by working with a Read more . . .


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Do I Need a Living Will or DNRO for My Estate Plan?


No one wants to contemplate suffering a life-altering accident or illness. However, anyone can face incapacitation or an end-of-life situation. Forethought and advance planning will ensure that your wishes are fulfilled and the burden of life-ending decisions are not unduly placed on your loved ones.

A comprehensive estate plan should include advanced directives that account for incapacity and end of life care. Read more . . .


Monday, February 22, 2021

When is it Too Late to Protect Assets for Medicaid or Public Benefits?


Affordability of long-term care is a common worry among seniors. Fortunately in California, Medicaid and public benefits are available to help cover costs. However, the rules governing public funds generally require individuals to surrender nearly all personal assets before receiving assistance. For those who have worked hard to build a financial legacy, that can be a hard pill to swallow.

When confronted with the question, “When is it too late to protect assets for Medicaid and public benefits?” Read more . . .


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Categorizing Estate Assets in California


Probate in California is extremely expensive. By categorizing estate assets in California carefully, it can be possible to avoid probate or minimize the assets that have to pass through the courts. A Read more . . .


Monday, January 25, 2021

When and Why to Say No to California Estate Planning Web Documents


A DIY movement has swept the nation, with internet tutorials and documents available for almost any need. But when it comes to matters as important as financial and legal affairs, is adopting

a standardized web-based approach the best idea? The convenience and minimal upfront investment of do-it-yourself wills and estate plans are attractive lures. However, using standardized documents to establish a personalized and comprehensive estate plan could be challenging, and may lead to costly problems in the future.

Read more . . .


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Smoothly Transferring Estate Assets in California


Transferring assets of a deceased person’s estate do not have to be onerous. California provides a simplified procedure that allows the transfer of estate assets in some situations without having to go to probate court. Also, there are ways that a living person can arrange for specific assets to transfer to their beneficiaries automatically when the current owner dies.

A Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

What Happens if I Fail to Fund My Trust?


Revocable trusts have become an increasingly popular probate-avoidance tool among California residents. Under the umbrella of a revocable trust, assets are protected from passing through a lengthy and costly probate process. However, this only holds for assets retitled in the name of the trust.

Read more . . .


Monday, December 21, 2020

Is a Revocable Transfer on Death Deed Valid in California?


California has historically provided four options for the transfer of real property upon a property owner’s death:

  1. joint tenancy agreements
  2. community property with right of survivorship
  3. wills
  4. living trusts

However, in January 2016, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 139, allowing a fifth option for the non-probate transfer of property to a designated beneficiary, known as the Revocable Transfer on Death Deed.
Read more . . .


Thursday, December 17, 2020

How Does a Will Compare to a Trust?


A will and a trust are both ways to protect your heirs and make sure that the people you want to inherit from you do so, but there are quite a few differences between wills and trusts. If you do not have either a valid will or trust when you die, you are intestate, and California law will decide who gets your assets after you die.

The only way to control what happens to your things after you pass on is to have a will or trust that meets our state’s requirements for validity. Read more . . .


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

What Are Special Powers of Attorney?


Special powers of attorney grant the agent limited authority to person a specific task or category of actions. The agent is the person the power of attorney names to take action on behalf of the principal. The principal is the person who makes and signs the power of attorney. Another term for special power of attorney is “limited power of attorney” or “specific power of attorney.”

Special powers of attorney can be an essential part of your estate plan as well as deal with unique situations throughout your lifetime.
Read more . . .


Monday, November 23, 2020

How Is My VA Pension Counted for Medi-Cal Purposes?


There are many different Medi-Cal programs, and each has its own rules for eligibility. In general, a VA pension counts as unearned income. Some Medi-Cal programs are not income-based, so a person with a higher income could qualify for those programs if they meet the requirements. Read more . . .


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