PRACTICE AREAS

Estate Planning Services by Law Office of Ronald E. Doty Jr.

 

We help all seniors, and veterans, plan and pay for end of life needs, including preserving estate assets and paying for long-term care. Means of providing for long-term care expenses include long-term care insurance, personal savings and income, Veterans Benefits, and MediCal or some combination of all of these sources.

Our aging clients are rightfully afraid of outliving their savings, becoming a burden on their children, and some may have children who have not demonstrated great compassion or responsibility, ignore them and leave them without care when they need it.

Government benefits are available to alleviate many of these concerns but regulations, underserved by the bureaucracy, burdensome requirements and seemingly endless requests for additional information can make applying a nightmare! We help families through the labyrinth of regulations, deal with the bureaucracy and respond to the requests, lifting the burden of navigating a difficult process and leaving families with the time to care for their loved ones and provide the funds to make them more comfortable. That is what we do. And we are good at it.

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Wills & Trusts

It is essential to have a Will, at every stage of your life. However, if you want to avoid the expense, delay and administrative complexity of Probate you will probably need a Trust.

You can avoid Probate even if you have a Will, but you need to plan very carefully. We can advise you whether, in your specific situation, you need a Will or a Trust so that you can make an informed decision.

A properly drafted Trust or Will provides the guidelines for the distribution of your property, establishing care and supervision for any living children, and communicate any of your other wishes upon your death. This legal direction will be necessary when you leave property to a person or entity besides a blood relative, such as a charity or a friend. If you happen to die without having a will, the court will determine how your property gets distributed, who will care for your dependent children, and even what happens with your pet. Essential, decisions will be made on your behalf that may not reflect your true wishes.

Power of Attorney

In the State of California, a durable power of attorney gives another party the legal authority to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. With this legal directive in place, your family is able to avoid having to ask the court to appoint a conservator / representative if you are not able to manage your own affairs.

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Health Care Power of Attorney

A Health Care Power of Attorney will protect you in a medical emergency Your designated Agent must follow your wishes for medical intervention. With this arrangement made in advance, you can be sure that your wishes will be honored at a time when you are most vulnerable. You may also include instructions for your funeral arrangements, cremation, burial and other important personal wishes.

Medi-Cal Planning

Medi-Cal, in California, or Medicaid in other states, is a benefit that pays for Long-term Nursing Medical Care in nursing homes. If a loved one is placed in a nursing home for more than 20 to 100 days, it may be absolutely necessary to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits. In some cases people will spend nearly every penny in their estate. There are important protections available to prevent a well spouse from becoming impoverished. In many cases, life savings can be preserved and protected from aggressive estate recovery. Careful planning can preserve hard-earned assets and protect spouses and children.

Costs for long-term care in a nursing home can exceed $8,000 per month. You can plan ahead to receive Medi-Cal benefits. Since there are particular eligibility requirements and a lengthy application process required to qualify for this program, we can help determine your eligibility and assist with the entire application process.

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Probate

Probate in California can be a simple process, as long as the estate is not complicated, and that there are no outstanding debts that need to be considered. In other cases, where there is a dispute, it is critical to be represented by an attorney with ample experience in handling these kinds of cases, and that is familiar with any recent developments in this area of law, which happens to regularly be subject to changes.

Trust Administration

Trust administration is the process by which a decedent’s trust assets are collected, debts are paid off and the remaining assets are distributed to the named trust beneficiaries. Depending on the type of trust that was created, assets may be distributed outright to the named beneficiaries or they may continue to be held in trust for the benefit of the named beneficiaries. Trust administration is ordinarily a private matter and does not normally involve any Court intervention, expense or delays.

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Trustee Representation

In the Trust Administration process, the Trustee has the power to protect and account for your money, other assets and real estate. A Trustee’s duties may include liquidating stocks, bonds, and bank accounts. The Trustee may also have to appraise and sell antiques, collections, residential and commercial real estate and business interests. As this can be very complicated, we can assist by providing legal representation to the trustee.

VA Pension

Veterans and their spouses may be able to qualify for a VA Pension (sometimes called Aid & Attendance) which provides financial assistance to offset the costs of health care. This VA benefit is extremely valuable for those with medical expenses, and for those who are or will be needing to be placed in an assisted-living facility, or require in-home care. There are three types of VA Pension for long-term care available: Low Income Pension, Housebound Benefits, and Aid & Attendance benefits. Widow(er)s of veterans may also be eligible.

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Have Questions or Want to Schedule a No-Obligation Appointment?

Call us at (951) 658-1100 Today!