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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Medi-Cal Funds Safe – For Now…

By merv,

  Filed under: Blog, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Medi-Cal Benefits, Senior Resources

In the ongoing effort to balance the state’s budget amid the economic downturn, the State of California decided late last year to cut Medi-Cal reimbursement rates by 10%.  In the ongoing effort to preserve their fees, various professional organizations including the California Hospital Association sued.

Last week U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder gave a temporary ruling stopping the cuts to Medi-Cal reimbursement rates.  It is actually the second similar decision made in this case.  The issue in the case is whether AB 97, the law authorizing the cuts, is allowed by various other federal and state laws governing healthcare.  Although that decision has not yet been made, the court has determined that Californians could face difficulty accessing health care in the time between when AB 97 was passed and when the court makes a decision about whether AB 97 is legal.

So what does all this legal mumbo-jumbo mean to you?  The argument is that if cuts to Medi-Cal reimbursements are allowed to happen, many California doctors, skilled nursing facilities, and other care providers will not be able to afford to continue providing medical care to Medi-Cal patients.  This would limit the options available to many low-income and elderly residents of the state and provide less income to the health care professionals who continue in the system.

So far, Judge Christina A. Snyder agrees that the potential of limiting Californians’ access to certain health care providers because of cost cuts is a big enough deal that she will not allow the cost cuts to go into effect.  We will have to see what is ultimately decided in the case to know whether the cost cuts can ever go into effect.  For now, the lesson to be learned is Plan Plan Plan for the days when your health care may become an issue for your family.

I often recommend planning for Medicaid and Medi-Cal eligibility for certain clients and this type of planning remains important.  However, your whole health care plan is literally of vital importance.  Have you decided who will make medical decisions for you if you can’t?  If not, you should make sure you do as quickly as possible through an Advance Health Care Directive.  If you are hospitalized or incapacitated, who will make sure your bills get paid?  A Financial Power of Attorney authorizes a person you designate to access your finances and make certain financial decisions for you.

If you find yourself in need of long-term care, how will you and your family pay for it?  Finding out now what programs you can qualify for, how much insurance you need, and other important considerations can save your family from dealing with bill collectors before and after your illness or death.

Have you created all of these documents and gotten everything in order “years ago?”  I’m sure I don’t have to be the one to tell you, but things have changed in the last few years.  Not only are planning documents from a decade ago often insufficient, but even just in the last few years the laws have evolved.

When I create an estate plan, I want to make one that will grow with you, but I have to plan as if you could die the next day.  I have to apply the law and your preferences as they stand on the day we create your documents.  If your estate planning documents have not been reviewed for several years, you should have them reviewed as soon as possible. 

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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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