Estate Plan VS. Wealth Transfer Plan

Unfortunately, only about 45% of adult Americans have estate-planning documents. Generally as one accumulates more assets as well as gets older, the probability of having estate-planning documents increases.

When you die without a will or trust, the State in which you reside has laws that determine to whom your assets will go. This may or may not be what you want. But since you did not have your wishes recorded properly, you do not get a choice.

Those that don’t have state planning documents are dictating your family be exposed to the following:

    • Subjected to the expenses of attorneys and courts,
    • Waste their time,
    • May not receive what you wanted them to receive
    • Become frustrated ,and after all that, they may well curse you for not having done the right thing by having obtained the documents before they were needed!

When you die your assets could go to family, friends, taxes, attorneys, appraisers, courts, charity, and other miscellaneous service providers. Having proper estate planning documents can speed the transfer process, decrease costs, and help keep family harmony.

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How To Help Your College Student In Case of Emergency

Last year, Jennifer Hill, a mother of six from Yuma, attempted to pay her 18-year-old daughter’s recent medical bill over the phone. Jennifer, after all, pays for most of her daughter’s “grown-up” services like health insurance and car insurance premiums. But Jennifer was shocked when the person on the other end of the phone would not even talk to her about her daughter’s medical bill, let alone let her pay it. Needless to say, Jennifer was frustrated.

Many parents in our community are blissfully unaware of what legally happens in the medical world when their child turns 18. In short, once your child turns 18, your child is legally a stranger to you. You, as your child’s parent, have no more legal right to your legal-aged son or daughter’s medical information than you would to any other stranger’s medical information. This is due, in part, to federal legislation that was put in place many years ago known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, or HIPAA for short.

HIPAA was a set of laws designed to, among other things, protect the confidentiality of our health information. HIPAA laws require medical professionals to get authorization from the patient before they can disclose any health information about that patient to anyone. If a person is under the age of 18, then that minor’s guardian can give authorization. But if a person is over 18, they are now considered an adult and only he or she can give authorization as to who can access their medical information.

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Need to Know Medi-Cal Estate Rule Changes

On Monday, June 27, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new state budget bill for the next fiscal year. The new budget law incorporates changes to the Medi-Cal estate recovery program that will be of significant benefit to the families of Medi-Cal recipients. When a Medi-Cal recipient dies, then the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is required to assert a claim against assets owned by a Medi-Cal recipient upon his or her death. The amount of the estate claim is the amount of money Medi-Cal spends on nursing home residents, at any age, and other Medi-Cal recipients, for benefits paid after they reach age 55. This hasn’t changed.

What has changed is that for Medi-Cal recipients who die on or after Jan. 1, 2017, there will be no estate claim against the estate of the surviving spouse. This means that there will no longer be estate recovery when a married recipient dies and when that recipient’s surviving spouse dies (unless the surviving spouse gets Medi-Cal benefits of his or her own). In addition, and this is big, DHCS Medi-Cal estate claims will be asserted only on estates subject to probate. Any property held by joint tenancy deed, or held within an ordinary revocable trust, will be exempt from estate claims. This means it will be a lot easier for the families of Medi-Cal recipients to avoid having to reimburse the State of California for benefits paid on behalf of their parents or loved ones.

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