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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Taking Care of the Caretakers…

By merv,

  Filed under: Blog, Medi-Cal Benefits, Veteran's Benefits

One of the primary goals in Medi-Cal planning is to allow your elderly family to receive the care they need without losing all of their assets in the process.  Long term care is often extremely expensive, especially when it involves skilled nursing care facilities or in-home care.  Medi-Cal eases the burden for the ill in order to avoid financial ruin.
However, a new study from UCLA found that 57% of Medi-Cal caregivers are being paid at or near the poverty level.  Medi-Cal caregivers are the bulk of California’s caregivers, comprising approximately two-thirds of the profession.  Additionally, roughly one third of the caregivers do not even have health insurance!  For that reason, the study found that they were more likely to go to the emergency room than other groups studied
Due to budget stresses, the state has been trying to cut Medi-Cal funding for the last several months.  The cuts, blocked by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder in February and thwarted again by the same judge in March could drive more caregivers deeper into poverty.  As part of the proposed cuts to Medi-Cal, in-home caregivers paid by IHSS could see their hours cut by 20%.

The study also found that medical debt is on the rise in California.  Although the amount of debt per person was relatively low, there were 400,000 more non-elderly Californians with past due medical debt in 2009 than in 2007.  Additionally, the study showed that those who lost their insurance during the year were the most likely to have debt, followed by the uninsured.  Additionally, over 18% of Medi-Cal enrollees have medical debt as well.
While the two findings may seem unrelated to one another, they get to the same issue: planning for your healthcare now and in the future is important.  If you are working in this volatile job market, you should consider how you could pay for unanticipated medical expenses if you lose your job and employer-provided health insurance.  If you have an individual health care plan with a high-deductible, you should consider contributing to your Health Savings Account in order to create a “care nest egg” of sorts.  You may even bring up the tax advantages of doing so with your tax advisor.

If you are older or your care needs are more immediate, you should consult with an attorney to determine your eligibility for Medi-Cal and Medi-Care, or  VA Aid & Attendance Non Service Connected Pension.  Proper planning for eligibility, which may include a QMap or QVap Trust, can ensure that you are not denied coverage due to look-back windows or other technicalities.  However, it is important to remember that Medi-Cal funding is volatile as well.  Even on its best days, these government programs may not fulfill all your healthcare needs.  If it did, the study would not have found so many Medi-Cal enrollees with medical debt.

Supplementing government healthcare with effective long-term care insurance may alleviate or eliminate the burden of uncovered care.  Regardless of your particular situation and needs, keeping track of your medical finances is an important part of your estate planning process.

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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