Frequently Asked Questions

What is Elder Law?

Elder Law involves planning for the complex health care, long-term care, and other issues facing elderly and disabled individuals and their families. Studies show that we stand a 40 percent chance of needing long-term care at least once before we die. Therefore, everyone should take into account that at some point residency in a nursing home or an assisted living facility may be needed.

However, the substantial cost of nursing home care for an incapacitated person can wipe away a family’s nest egg and the inheritance planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.

Medicaid Asset Protection Strategies

Although with the recent passage of the Deficit Reduction Act, increased restrictions affect the use of some techniques, other asset protection strategies remain viable, especially for married couples where one spouse requires long-term care. Some of these techniques may include setting up an Irrevocable Living Trust, making gifts to family members, and paying for certain Medicaid expenses.

Whether you are facing long-term care issues yourself or you have a family member who is, we encourage you to call with your questions or ask us for a free report. Be sure to call sooner rather than later because the timing of the decisions families need to make has a dramatic impact on whether or not someone can actually qualify for this type of support.

Elder Law involves planning for the complex health care, long-term care, and other issues facing elderly and disabled individuals and their families. Studies show that we stand a 40 percent chance of needing long-term care at least once before we die. Therefore, everyone should take into account that at some point residency in a nursing home or an assisted living facility may be needed.

However, the substantial cost of nursing home care for an incapacitated person can wipe away a family’s nest egg and the inheritance planned for surviving family members. The primary alternative to privately paying the nursing home is Medicaid.

Medi-Cal:

Medi-Cal is a joint federal and state program that provides medical assistance to low-income persons who are elderly, blind or disabled. However, unless you are among the minority who has long-term care insurance, most individuals contemplating paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket every month for long-term nursing home care face the possibility of exhausting all available assets and using up their lifetime savings before being able to qualify for Medi-Cal. A qualified Elder Law Attorney can help your family by using a variety of strategies to help you qualify for Medi-Cal while preserving assets and savings for heirs.

Here’s How We Can Help

Paying for & Getting Nursing Home Care

  • Find the right nursing home
  • Create a plan to qualify for Medi-Cal benefits
  • Preserve as many of your loved one’s assets as possible
  • Apply for Veteran’s Benefits

Incapacity Planning

  • Establish Guardianship

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Estate planning is essentially writing down your assets, who will be responsible for distributing or administering your assets in the event that you are unable to, due to incapacity or death, how you want or assets distributed or administered, and to whom you wish to leave your assets.

The assets involved in your estate can include more than just money. It can also include houses, cars, stocks, artwork, real estate investments, retirement plans, and gifts, just to name a few.

Your estate plan can direct these items be distributed outright, held in trust for a period of time, used for a specific purpose such as a grandchild’s education, or given to charity.

By having a well-written, customized estate plan, you can ensure that your wishes are carried out and your goals are achieved while protecting everything you worked for from family fights, creditors, and unscrupulous predators who may wish to take advantage of your family.

If you feel that you are no longer able to work because of physical and/or mental reasons, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments. To be considered disabled, you must be unable to perform any substantial work due to a physical and/or mental condition, which has lasted or can be expected to last for at least 12 months or can be expected to result in death. There are also special rules that can help once you turn 50, 55 and 60.

SSDI eligibility is based on previous contributions to Social Security, and SSI eligibility is based on your income level. If you are found eligible for SSI payments, you may also qualify for State Supplemental Payments (SSP).

You may apply for SSDI or SSI at any Social Security office. If you have a child or children with a disability, you may also apply for SSI on their behalf.

What is Social Security Income (SSI)?

People who are disabled, blind, or elderly may not be able to work or afford to live on their own. If you can’t work, have no other sources of income, and have limited resources, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).


The federal government created the SSI program to help people in this situation. Those who qualify for SSI benefits get monthly cash payments to pay for those basic needs. The SSI program is run by the Social Security Administration. In California, people who get SSI also get a smaller benefit from the State Supplemental Program (SSP) included with their monthly SSI benefit.

 
In California, people who qualify for SSI also get Medi-Cal benefits automatically.