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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Schooling the VA…

By merv,

  Filed under: Blog, Veteran's Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) handles a number of benefit programs for veterans of all ages.  The VA provides Veterans Aid & Attendance Non-Service Connected Disability Pension  to veterans who require in-home health care, assisted living, or skilled nursing.  However, the VA will also provide services from the time of deployment until the time the veteran needs Aid and Attendance. These days, good representation is useful no matter what program you are interested in pursuing.

Among the services the VA provides is work-study programs for recent veterans.  Under the program, college-bound veterans can work for the VA while attending school for an hourly rate.  Unfortunately, the delays with VA payments are systemic and reach to every program; some veterans working to pay for school have put in over 100 hours without receiving their regularly scheduled paychecks!  Additionally, there are new stories nearly daily about veterans who have to prove that they served in the military, served in war, or, indeed, that they are even still alive!

At this time, the VA is undergoing a number of transitions besides the presidential election, including some changes to their infrastructure, office locations, and services.  Both candidates have stated a commitment to alleviating some of the problems with backlog at the VA.  In most cases, though, the best way to navigate the VA process is to have all the appropriate documentation and an advocate to represent your cause.

If you or someone in your family needs help with daily functioning, such as dressing, bathing, and cooking, then Aid and Attendance may be able to provide over $24,000 in funds to be used for care.  The same is true whether the person needing care is the veteran or the veteran’s spouse.  In order to qualify, documenting each of the qualifying factors is an important first step.  First, physician letters stating that you or your loved one requires aid will support the claim for Aid and Attendance benefits.  Secondly, getting all the appropriate discharge documents and military records in order will prove the veteran’s eligibility.

Aid and Attendance benefits were increased in 2012.  The maximum V.A. Aid and Attendance benefits for 2012 are:
Single Veteran: $1,704
Married Veteran: $2,020
Surviving Spouse: $1,094

In order to qualify for benefits, the veteran must also be low income and have limited assets.  Often, the family home, despite being exempt from means testing, is a valuable asset for promoting the veteran’s care.  With proper advance planning, you can ensure that the family home is both outside the VA estate for means testing purposes (as an exempt asset), and can still be sold if necessary to help provide for care.  By using a QVap trust, you can also retain the income tax benefits of home ownership.

Once the preliminary documents are in order, you should obtain an advocate to help complete the paperwork and represent you during your claim.  Especially while even perfect claims take months to complete, do not wait to get representation to verify that your claim is correctly submitted the first time!

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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