Aging Preparedness

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What about planning for aging? To plan for aging, most people have a financial plan on how they will pay their bills. Thats an important start. In addition, each older adult should also put together what we call an Aging Preparedness Kit. Were not talking about batteries or candles. Were talking about tools that can […]

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Transferring a Small Estate

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In California, when someone dies intestate – without a valid will – the right to inherit automatically passes to the closest surviving relatives, also known as next-of-kin. If the decedent left a valid will, living trust or life insurance policy, chosen beneficiaries trump rules of intestacy. Having the legal right to inherit does not formally […]

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Senior Baby Boomers

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In 2011, 2.5 million baby boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – became “senior citizens.” For many, Social Security, Medicare and veteran benefits provide special tools and options: Social Security Retirement The Social Security retirement benefits workers may receive when reaching the age of full retirement are referred to as their primary insurance […]

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Medi-Cal: A No-Interest Loan for Nursing Home Care

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Because current costs for nursing-home care are incredibly high, more and more Californians are seeking financial support through Medi-Cal. Those who are eligible can receive the equivalent of a no-interest loan.  With it, Medi-Cal pays a portion of the patient’s monthly nursing home fees, while the patient’s continued income defines his or her monthly deductible […]

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Short-Term Medicare Coverage for Long-Term Care Needs

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Many older adults think of Medicare as the insurance that will cover most of their future care needs. They are often surprised to learn that Medicare’s coverage for skilled nursing home care is quite limited. Specific rules determine if and when such coverage will start, continue and definitely end. Medicare’s coverage for nursing home care […]

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Making Final Arrangements

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When family members or close friends die, those experiencing the greatest sense of loss are often the ones who must make funeral and burial arrangements. If decedents not only planned ahead, but also communicated their final wishes to those who care, resulting tasks may be accomplished more efficiently, and the emotional burden lessened. Respecting decedents’ […]

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California’s Donate Life Registry

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Question:  Why does grandma’s driver’s license include a pink donor’s dot? Answer: People filling out the California Department of Motor Vehicles form to renew a driver’s license or identification card must answer this question: “Do you wish to register to be an organ and tissue donor?” Those who check “YES” will automatically become enrolled in […]

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Estate Administration Overview

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So, you’ve been named as executor, personal representative or trustee under the will or trust of a family member or friend. And now that family member or friend has died. It’s time for you to “administer the estate.” Our Estate Administration Overview summarizes for you the basic steps that need to be taken. Free PDF […]

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Seniors Beware: Ask First!

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Many of us need legal, financial, retirement, accounting, estate, long-term care or similar planning services. We seek help from planning advisors possessing the necessary training. Many planning advisors are well-qualified, capable, and make fair disclosure of pertinent information to their clients. Unfortunately, unqualified or dishonest individuals masquerade as expert planning advisors. Many of them provide […]

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Professional Fiduciaries…On Your Behalf

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Conservatorships are often necessary to protect the incapacitated who did not prepare powers of attorney identifying agents to speak for them. The court may appoint conservators of the person to be in charge of their personal needs, physical health, food, clothing and shelter. Conservators of the estate may be appointed to take responsibility for identified […]

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The Modern Patient’s Right to Privacy

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It used to be very clear that communications between a doctor and patient were confidential. However, as the healthcare community started relying on electronic equipment to transfer medical records, different issues arose. The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act or HIPAA specifically states its respect for each patient’s right to privacy. But the true […]

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Electronically Transferred Medical Records

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Because of technological advancements, medical information and records are no longer found solely in the treating doctor’s office, but are often transferred electronically to other treatment providers, insurance companies, law enforcement agencies and government programs. As a result, should incorrect information be included in a specific patient’s file, the consequences may be much more far […]

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In Case of Emergency, Who Will Speak for You?

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If you have a medical emergency and become incapacitated or unable to speak for yourself, you will want to make sure that someone else can speak for you. Advance directives are the legal documents that identify the person or persons you have chosen to speak for you should you become incapacitated. Since seniors often have […]

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Sorting Things Out as a Surviving Spouse

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Here’s a fairly common picture: During 50+ years of marriage, a husband (we’ll call him George) handles all the banking and investments. George dies. Barbara, his surviving spouse, must now handle unfamiliar financial matters. This is especially difficult in the midst of the grief and other impacts of losing her spouse. Barbara needs to know […]

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Government Benefits for Seniors: Navigate the Maze!

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There’s a confusing maze of government income, health and care programs for seniors out there. Here’s a quick guide to eight of them: Monthly Income Programs Social Security Retirement (SSR): SSR is a program for seniors funded by the federal government. Eligibility to receive SSR is based on one’s work history, while the amount of […]

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In-Home Supportive Services

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The In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program provides help to individuals who are unable to remain safely at home without assistance. The IHSS program pays for a wide variety of services, including housecleaning, shopping, meal preparation, laundry, personal care and paramedical services. Who Is Eligible for IHSS? IHSS pays for services to California residents who live […]

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Fact Sheet: Estate Planning

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Who shall inherit assets upon the owner’s death is often determined by: Joint tenancy ownership supersedes other arrangements, so assets a person holds as joint tenant, if any, will be transferred on death to the surviving joint tenant(s). Other assets for which a person has named a beneficiary or made a pay-on-death (or transfer-on-death) arrangement […]

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Staying in Charge of Your Healthcare Decisions

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A Power of Attorney for Health Care (PAHC) is a legal document that allows you to stay in charge of your care by selecting and naming who will make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Care decisions include matters like: Selecting and removing health care providers and institutions, Consenting to or refusing diagnostic tests, […]

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Important Areas Of Planning

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H.E.L.P.’s goal is to help older adults live better, longer. We assist Older Adults (and their friends and families) in planning for the future. Important areas of planning that we provide information and advice on include the following: Planning for a potential period of incapacity, and the impact of incapacity on making health care decisions […]

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Who Will Manage My Finances?

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Hopefully, you’ll always be able to handle your own assets and finances. If, however, you became incapacitated, how would your assets and finances be managed? What about your home? Your IRA? Your bank accounts? Depositing your checks? Arranging and paying for home care? Paying your bills? Filing and paying your taxes? For most people, a […]

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Expressing Your Wishes About Organ and Tissue Donation

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Background At your death, you may donate all or part of your body for medical research or use by others. Your entire body may be donated. Or particular organs and tissues may be donated, including heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas, liver, intestine, bone marrow, corneas and skin. The law requires hospitals to attempt to identify potential […]

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Conservatorship Basics

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What happens to someone who doesn’t have a power of attorney for health care (PAHC) or durable power of attorney for financial matters (DPAFM), but who can no longer adequately take care of his or her personal care or finances? Depending on the person’s needs and assets, a conservatorship may need to be established. In […]

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Think Twice (or More) Before Giving Away Your Home

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Many people, as they grow older, consider giving away their homes during their lifetimes. We call this a “lifetime transfer” and contrast it with a transfer to heirs that becomes effective at death. When thinking about a lifetime transfer of their homes, people often consider things like avoiding probate, having someone else take responsibility for […]

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Nursing Home Dilemma: Was Missing Property Lost or Stolen?

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Misplaced or stolen belongings are a frequent complaint from nursing home residents, their families and visiting friends. Because clothing and money are easy to either steal or lose, nursing homes are required to establish formal policies to reduce theft and loss.  Such procedures must include : Training employees on how to respond to allegations of theft […]

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Care for Veterans

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Care Settings Yes, the VA (the formal name is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) has programs to assist veterans with nursing home care. There are three distinct care settings where the VA provides help. Nursing Home Care Units (NHCUs). NHCUs are nursing facilities located within a VA Medical Center or on the grounds of […]

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