Online resource center to help you explore these key issues, and others, regarding your estate.

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Mr. Miller has many years of experience in designing and implementing a comprehensive variety of Trusts, Wills, and other estate planning documents, as well as settling estates in the most expedient and appropriate method. Further, he counsels and assists clients on becoming eligible for VA benefits and Medi-Cal.

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VA Pension/Aid & Attendance/Medi-Cal

Mr. Miller has been active in the area of VA Pension and Medi-Cal for well over a decade. He uses various specialized types of Trusts as well as non-trust strategies to gain eligibility for his clients and save the family money.

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Probate & Estate Administration

Mr. Miller has been settling estates (both simple and complex) for well over 40 years. The starting point is always to create a strategy to settle the estate in the most efficient manner possible with a minimum of taxes. Often times the strategy created allows the family to bypass Probate Court proceedings.

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A Bird in the Hand…


By merv,

  Filed under: Blog, Elder Law, Veteran's Benefits

As the saying goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  The idea, of course, is that having something of value now is better than the promise of something in the future, even if the promise is technically for more.  However, there are a number of cases in which this is not true.  For example, lottery winners who choose the annuity option over a lump sum payout have a steadier stream of income and lower tax bills when they choose the annuity.  For many winners, the annuity may be the better option.  The question is, really, how many birds are in that bush?  If it’s only two, maybe one in hand is better, but what if there are nine?

The same is true for VA benefits.  Hidden fees, uneven trade-offs, and other considerations often make hiring these people very risky.  As tempting as it may be to get that bird in your hand, you could be unwittingly transferring more than two-thirds of your VA pension to an independent company that is only interested in lining investors’ pockets.  If this seems wrong, there are several courts who will happily agree with you.  However, there are other courts who have not found a basis in the current law for throwing out these types of arrangements.

Last Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that it would begin looking into pension buy-out schemes.  Litigation about these arrangements is ongoing throughout the country arguing that the buy-out programs are either usurious loans or illegal assignments of benefits to third parties.  Either way, it is likely that the lump sum cash offers advertised in military journals are misleading.  For military pensioners in a financial bind, there may be other programs that could help.

If you are facing financial strain due to medical expenses for a very ill veteran or spouse, VA Aid and Attendance non-service connected disability benefits may be part of the answer.  This benefit exists to help cover the cost of medical expenses for veterans and their spouses who are unable to care for themselves.  Although the process may be more time-consuming than the quick-fix of a lump sum, the veteran will be much better off with potentially over $24,000 in Aid & Attendance benefits per year!  Speaking with a VA.accredited attorney can ensure that your claim process goes smoothly.  The attorney may also be able to offer other benefits by suggesting options to help you qualify, such as a QVap Trust.

For veterans facing hard times due to the employment market, the new Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) may also be a good option.  Veterans in this program may receive up to $1,400 while participating in the training for in demand jobs.  Other options and programs may also be available through the VA and other services.  Don’t get swindled by hucksters who will give you a small payout and then leave you high and dry.

VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process?  FREE REPORT:  This complimentary report focuses on the various kinds of people one can consult when applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit. Who one chooses can mean the difference between success and failure. Remember, if you are denied, you may not be able to reapply for up to a year or longer. Download our complimentary report for a behind the scenes look at the different types of people you can consult and the dirty underbelly of the veterans aid & attendance industry.

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About Living Trusts

About Living Trusts is hosted by the Law Offices of Merwyn J. Miller, as your online resource center to help you explore these key issues, and others, regarding your estate.

Merwyn J. Miller, J.D.

  • Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trust & Probate Law
  • Co-Author of legal text book and of “Don’t Go Broke in a Nursing Home
  • Teacher of law courses at public and private colleges
  • Continuing Education Instructor for attorneys
  • Columnist for largest regional newspaper in San Diego County and professional journals for 15 years, Contributing author to the book “In Your Service: The Veteran’s Friend”
  • Masters Degree in Financial Services - Estate Planning
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