Who Can And Can’t Inherit Your Guns?

By Jim Gianelli

Like many of us, you’re a sportsman. You hunt, target shoot and over many years have put together a valuable collection of firearms. There’s that .45 semi-automatic, a couple of deer rifles, a .12-gauge shotgun for squirrel hunting, an elephant … Continue reading

Estate Planning: California’s Take on the Right to Die

By Tamara Polley

Brittany Maynard’s assisted suicide has again placed a spotlight on the right to die. Stricken with terminal brain cancer, the 29-year-old Californian moved to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s law allowing physician-assisted suicide. That law requires a short … Continue reading

Special Needs Trusts: The Current Law and Pending Legislation

By ElderCounsel

  Introduction Individuals with special needs often face “quality of life” challenges compared to those without special needs.  Many times individuals with special needs require added expenses to meet those needs.  The added financial burden often leads individuals with special … Continue reading

Practical Tips for Special Needs Planning

By ElderCounsel

In honor of “Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month,” proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in March 1987, this issue of The ElderCounselor™ examines the unique planning requirements of families who have loved ones with special needs.  Understanding the pitfalls associated with special … Continue reading

Estate Planning: College Prep – The Unexpected Kind

By Jim Gianelli

You get a call in the night. Your college-student daughter has been seriously hurt and is unconscious. You jump in your car and set out for the hospital, fully expecting to talk to the doctors, sign off on medical care … Continue reading

Why Gay Couples Should Get Married – The Sooner the Better

By Jim Gianelli

We all have gay friends or relatives, whether we know it or not, and many share life with a partner. After a historic U.S. Supreme Court decision opened the matrimonial door for California same-sex partners – and prohibits the federal … Continue reading

The Family Vacation Home

By Jim Gianelli

How do you successfully pass the family vacation home on to your children? As a foothills estate planning attorney, I have clients with beautiful vacation homes in Twain Harte, Pinecrest, Strawberry, Bear Valley and other mountain communities. Most of them … Continue reading

Planning for Your Pets

By Tamara Polley

You may have put the rest of your affairs in order, but have you made plans for your pets? Hopefully, by now you have created a basic estate plan by doing the following: Signing Durable Powers of Attorney to make … Continue reading

Estate Planning: Property Taxes

By Tamara Polley

It’s that time of year again, when homeowners pay their annual property taxes … Happy holidays! This year we are faced with two things we don’t want to think about in these tough economic times: taxes and reduced property values. … Continue reading

The Ins and Outs of Probate

By Jim Gianelli

Probate is a court process set up to assure that upon one’s death, assets get distributed to the people in one’s will (or in absence of a will, to one’s legal heirs), creditors get paid, and disputes are settled. Probate … Continue reading

Estate Planning: Starting the Process

By Jim Gianelli

When it comes to planning your estate, it’s best to start the process with an estate planning attorney, preferably a state-certified specialist. But other advisors may play a vital role: your accountant, banker, insurance agent, financial advisor or broker. You … Continue reading

Estate Planning: Death of a Spouse

By Jim Gianelli

Your spouse has died, and whether or not the death was sudden and unexpected or gradual and expected, you are in shock. Your mind is just not working quite right. The realization of what has happened – and the grief … Continue reading

Why Planning Matters

By Jim Gianelli

Let me tell you a sad but true story that carries an important message: It pays to plan ahead. Two brothers sought my advice when their parents were severely injured in an out-of-state automobile accident. The father was in extremely … Continue reading

Review of 2013: The Effect on California Medi-Cal Rules and California Veteran’s Planning

By ElderCounsel

2013 was an important year for news that affected our senior, Veteran and disabled populations. Many stories affecting these groups made national headlines. This edition of the ElderCounselorTM will review some of the top stories that made headlines in 2013 … Continue reading

The Affordable Care Act: How It Impacts Our Senior Population

By ElderCounsel

Since its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act has been the subject of many heated debates and a cause for some confusion among most of the population. In order to assist you in serving your senior clientele, this issue … Continue reading

Dealing With Your Problem Child

By Jim Gianelli

Ah, the age-old issue: How to deal with your problem child. This often produces uncomfortable pauses, silence and embarrassment in the parents’ first interview with a lawyer. Many parents don’t want to admit that their grown sons or daughters are … Continue reading

Naming an IRA Beneficiary

By Tamara Polley

What happens to your Individual Retirement Account when you die, and how will that impact your heirs? Distributions from an IRA are taxable to the recipient just as they would have been to the original owner. However, it’s important that … Continue reading

Planning for Long-Term Care

By Tamara Polley

“I am in great health,” my client said. “Why should I worry about long-term care?” “I don’t want you to worry about it,” I answered. “I want you to plan for it so that you don’t end up in a … Continue reading

The Top 10 Benefits of a Comprehensive Power of Attorney

By ElderCounsel

The benefits of a highly detailed, comprehensive power of attorney are numerous. Unfortunately, many powers of attorney are more general in nature and can actually cause more problems than they solve, especially for our senior population. This issue of this … Continue reading

Helping Veterans Pay for Long-Term Medical Care

By Tamara Polley

“How are we going to pay for long-term medical care?” We hear that question frequently these days. For veterans who served during wartime and their surviving spouses, an underused Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit may help. Its formal name is Improved … Continue reading

The Value of Using Irrevocable Trusts in California Medi-Cal Planning

By ElderCounsel

People often wonder about the value of using irrevocable trusts in California Medi-Cal planning. Certainly gifting of assets can be done outright, not involving an irrevocable trust. Outright gifts have the advantages of being simple to do with minimal costs … Continue reading

When Dementia Is Involved, Plan Ahead

By Tamara Polley

As more seniors struggle with dementia, their loved ones are left scrambling to organize  and handle health care and financial matters. The stress of dealing with the disease and related personality changes is compounded by the pressures of assuming control … Continue reading

Choosing a Trustee

By Jim Gianelli

One of the most important, and sometimes difficult, decisions you will make in estate planning is choosing a trustee. Your trustee handles your estate if you become disabled or after you die. Here is what to look for in selecting … Continue reading

Living Trust and Power of Attorney

By Jim Gianelli

Estate planning is more than just transferring assets to your loved ones upon your death. Perhaps more importantly, good estate planning includes choosing the right people to manage your financial affairs in the event you cannot do so. Most estate … Continue reading

Medi-Cal Benefits for Long-Term Care

By Tamara Polley

The article Long Term Care Cost that Jim wrote outlined Medi-Cal benefits for long-term skilled nursing care. To receive these benefits, an applicant must have limited resources. What if you have too much money to qualify, but not enough to … Continue reading

Communicate Clearly

By Jim Gianelli

Hopefully you’ve followed the advice in our past articles … but you’re not done yet! Here are a few more tips vital to proper estate planning, and to ensuring that your survivors can easily honor your wishes. Keep documents up … Continue reading

Long-Term Care Cost

By Jim Gianelli

Did you know you can lose your home to the state as a result of the state paying your long-term care costs? Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence. Let’s discuss the problem and ways to avoid it. Consider this real … Continue reading

Revocable Living Trust

By Jim Gianelli

This article describes one of the most important and popular estate planning tools in California, a revocable living trust. This is an estate planning document that is, in many respects, a substitute for a Last Will and Testament. “Revocable” means … Continue reading