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

Practice Areas

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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Have You Communicated Your Top Level Wishes for Your Care?

By merv,

  Filed under: Elder Law, Estate Planning

Dear Mr. Miller:

I’m concerned about making sure that my kids carry out my wishes.  I have a Living Trust so what I want to occur after I’m gone is laid out.  But what about if I’m in an accident or have a stroke and can no longer function mentally?  How do I know that my wishes for my care will be honored–or even known?   I don’t really see any place to put that.  What can I do?

Petrified of Incapacity

Basic Level
The More Advanced Level Has to Do, not with Your Dying but, with Your Living
Integrate the Care Instructions
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Dear Petrified:

Sometimes we Estate Planning Attorneys are probably a bit more focused on death and not sufficiently focused on life.  You raise an excellent point. How will they know your desires?

Basic Level:  As with everything, there are different levels of “protection.”  Most pre-printed Health Care Directives (Power of Attorney for Health Care/Medical Proxy, etc.), as well as attorney drafted ones,  do have a section dealing with DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) in irreversible comas and situations in which the person is terminal.  Others that I have seen have a matrix of DNR  requests for this or that illness and severity level.  But that’s the bare bones approach!

The more advanced level has to do, not with your dying but, with your living:  One approach that we have used is to look at things from your appointed person’s, (the person who will be in charge of your care) perspective.  Let’s call this person the manager.  What would that person want to know?  How about what insurance you have, how is it paid, who is it with?  Or  if you want to be brought home from the skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility even if insurance will not completely pay for it?  Under what circumstances? Yes, you can write this all down and put it with the voluminous paper work that is included with your Living Trust, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Deeds, etc.  But will your manager find that piece of paper?  Typically they are involved and all consumed by straightening everything out with the various financial institutions to get access to money.  The banks will ask for the Power of Attorney or Living Trust and that’s what your manager will grab, not the “My Request for Care” letter (or whatever you titled it) that you so diligently wrote.

Integrate the Care Instructions:  So what’s the solution?   Put those care instructions in the Power of Attorney for Finances and the one for Health Care.  What goes in there:  Who handles your Health Care (Medicare, Work Provided, Individual), Drug Plans, Medicare Supplement, Disability, Life Insurance policies, Long Term Care, who is your agent with contact information, how is it paid–auto deduction or paid monthly/quarterly?  Whether you want to come home if you can be sufficiently cared for there.  Should the manager hire a care manager to make these decisions?  If not covered by insurance, who pays for that type of assistance?  That type of stuff in an organized and comprehensive manner.  And written in a legally appropriate manner so that the manager will take the actions you wish.

I have seen clients try this on their own and I have seen them leave out important information or write it in a confusing or non binding manner or even void the power of attorney itself.  So as with everything legal, if it is really important, do it through your attorney.

Call Us:  Give us a call at 760-436-8832 so that we can discuss the solution that will take care of your worries!


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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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