Month: September 2013

Understanding the Differences between Medi-Cal and Medicare with a San Jose Elder Law Attorney

Medi-Cal and Medicare consist of very different components and are designed for different purposes. Being eligible for one program does not automatically make you eligible for the other. You must meet separate eligibility requirements for each program. However, if you qualify for both, Medi-Cal will pay for most Medicare part A and B premiums, deductibles and co-payments.

Medicare is an insurance program. Medicare was designed to assist with the high medical costs of older citizens who face financial difficulties given their reduced earning power. It serves people primarily over the age of 65, whatever their income, as well as younger people with disabilities. However, eligibility for Medicare is not tied into individual need. It is an entitlement program. You or your spouse are entitled to Medicare because you paid for it through payroll taxes. Medical bills are paid by trust funds that those covered have paid into. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and additional costs. Sometimes, small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federally run program.

Medi-Cal is an assistance program run by the state of California for low-income, financially troubled people. This is often referred to as a patient pay responsibility. Medicaid is a federal program administered through the states, and the rules vary from state to state. In California, the Medicaid program is called Medi-Cal. It’s set up by the government and administered by each state. Medical bills are paid by federal, state, and local tax funds. Patients usually pay no part of costs for medical expenses, although, sometimes a co-payment is required. The program varies from state to state. In California it is known as Medi-Cal. There are multiple programs within Medi-Cal, such as Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Aged and Disabled Federal Poverty Level (A&D FPL), Medi-Cal with a Share of Cost (SOC) and California Working Disabled (CWD).

There are many types of documents needed to validate income, assets and expenses. Understanding the eligibility requirements, benefit packages and application process is imperative to choosing the plan that will best suit you and your family.

Jim Ward is an experienced Elder Law Attorney who can help guide you through the process. Give Jim a call to today for a free consultation, 1-800-JIM-WARD.

Benefits of Setting Up a Trust with a San Jose Elder Law Attorney

While trust funds, or trusts, may seem the domain of millionaires, it is beneficial for people at all economic levels to create a trust.  If you plan to leave money to your minor children a trust has to be an integral part of the estate plan. By having a trust in place, money and assets are set aside and available to your children upon reaching a pre-determined age.  Having a trust, managed by a trustee, allows for management of your money, property and assets, and makes sure that they’re distributed after your death — according to your wishes. This will save your family money, time and paperwork.

Benefits of setting up trusts include avoiding taxes, avoiding probate, protecting your estate (as well as the estate of beneficiary or beneficiaries), providing funds for educational purposes, and benefits for charities and institutions.

Trusts are flexible, varied and complex. Each type has advantages and disadvantages depending on your wishes for the future. What kind of trust will work for you? A credit-shelter trust? A generation-skipping trust? A qualified personal residence trust? A irrevocable life insurance trust? A qualified terminable interest property trust?

Before you set up a trust, it is imperative to thoroughly discuss the specifications of the considered trust with your estate-planning attorney.

When it comes to having others use your assets to care for you when you are unable to make decisions, or when it comes to taking care of the ones you love, creating a trust is of utmost importance in meeting your various estate planning goals. .

As an experienced attorney in estate planning, allow Jim Ward to assist you in determining which trusts are right for you and your family. Call us today for a free assessment, 1-800-JIM-WARD.