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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What are you waiting for?

By merv,

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

If it’s V.A. benefits, I understand.  The backlog of V.A. claims is astounding.  Nearly 900,000 veterans who have applied for benefits are still awaiting approval.  Over 65% of those claims have been outstanding for over four months.  Additionally, the V.A. expects the backlog to grow to at least 1.2 million by the end of the year, in part, due to the return of veterans from war, and in part because increases in claims are not being matched by an increase in claims resolution.  Not surprisingly, some of the worst backlogs are in the veteran rich state of California.  Last month, California congressmen urged the federal government to assist the Oakland V.A. with its outstanding claims, where the average wait is over 313 days.  In San Diego, the wait is often several months.

The good news is the large number of claims did actually get the attention of several major news outlets and, consequently, the powers that be in Washington.  Along with other reforms, the V.A. promised to go to a paperless system, which should save time, money, and perhaps even some bureaucracy, in 16 offices by this September and 56 offices by the end of next year.

This week, the V.A. announced that it has hired Harris Corporation to handle the implementation of a paperless system designed to reduce errors and speed up the claims process.  Harris is no stranger to government bureaucracy; it currently manages the U.S. Navy Marine Corps Intranet among handling radio and satellite networks, and other large projects that require the ability to handle a lot of information efficiently.  The implementation will take time, but there is hopefully light at the end of the tunnel for those anticipating filing a claim for benefits.

The V.A.’s ordeal brings home the need to plan ahead.  The more you are prepared for your future needs financially and medically, the better prepared you will be for filing for your benefits.  It is best to get advice on your eligibility and the claims process as early as you can.  In many ways, filing your paperwork for benefits is the last step; veterans who are waiting months for their benefits also needed the advance time to prepare all their documents.

Sometimes, asset planning is vital to approval of certain benefits, such as the VA Aid & Attendance Non Service Connected Pension Benefit, which are available to qualified veterans that need help with their medical expenses.  The QVap Trust is one of the best ways to help you qualify for Aid & Attendance and save on income taxes.
Additionally, I cannot stress enough the importance of hiring someone familiar with the V.A. and its requirements to handle your benefit claim.  Admiral Hyman Rickover once said “If you are going to sin, sin against God, not the bureaucracy. God will forgive you but the bureaucracy won’t.”  Filing incorrect or incomplete paperwork can exacerbate the already long delays in claim processing.

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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