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Questions Answered by Sally Bergman
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Can I transfer my assets to my children so that I may qualify for medi-cal?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Nov 5, 2018

It depends on the nature and type of your assets and the type of Medi-Cal benefits you are are seeking.. Also, there's a right way to do it and many wrong ways to do it. I highly recommend your contact an elder law attorney to assist you. They typically save families far more money than it costs... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: My mom has alzheimers and changed her will without telling anyone. What should I do?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Nov 2, 2018

You should immediately consult an elder law attorney so that a formal determination regarding your mother's mental capacity can be determined. It is important that this be one as close in time as possible to the time when she changed the will. A diagnosis of Alzheimer's Dementia does not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: My wife has dementia, I have a POA. Can I sell our home to pay for her assisted living
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Oct 29, 2018

A power of attorney properly executed by your wife at a time when she still had mental capacity should be sufficient to allow you to sell your home, although I would recommend you have it reviewed by an attorney before you get too far into a sale, only to find a title company unwilling to accept... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: In what types of situations would setting up a special needs trust benefit someone recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Oct 20, 2018

The (well) spouse of a person with Alzheimer's (ill spouse) should establish a testamentary special needs trust through his/her will to protect the ill spouse in the event the well spouse dies before the ill spouse. These types of trusts between spouses can only be established through a will. Any... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: When is a trust preferable over a will?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Oct 13, 2018

Rarely is a standalone will better than a trust (which would include something called a pour over will), unless you have very few assets. All too often, I believe potential clients think they are saving money on attorney fees by asking for a will as they think a living trust will cost more. This... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: What does it mean when a beneficiary has a Life Estate in a revocable trust?

In california

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Sep 26, 2018

Life estates are typically used in real property matters. For example, the person creating the trust may wish that when he/she dies that their home be given to Person 2 who may live in the home for the rest of their life. When Person 2 dies, the property transfers to Person 3. The trust document... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: BONA FIDE PURCHASER SCAM: If 5 people got together and expedited this scam, what is the legal term that describes it?

Person No. 1 has a 94 year old cognitively impaired mother sign a Power of Attorney designating Person No. 1 as Attorney in Fact. Person No. 1 sells the 94 year old's home well below market value to Person No. 2. Person No. 2 quickly gifts the property to Person No. 3. Person No. 3 sells the... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Sep 26, 2018

There's no question that you need to immediately contact an elder law attorney who handles financial elder abuse matters. I can't imagine that a title company ever insured title on all of these transactions.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Iam a Trustee on Dads will & Trust. He recently passed 1 month ago. I have 4 siblings. If there are no instructions how

To divide the monies from CD, checking,Savings & maximizer acct how much if any do they get. All i remember my father saying is if anyone objected to the amount & werent happy then automatically they forfeit their share. I know my Mom doesnt get nothing except to live free in the home & her... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Sep 23, 2018

These are all questions that should be answered by the terms of the trust. If you have any doubt, you need to have an attorney look at the trust document and evaluate what needs to be done.

1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: Do nursing homes have to be licensed to operate in California?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Sep 22, 2018

Nursing homes are highly regulated in California. There are several different types of licenses, depending upon the type of facility it is. For example, skilled nursing facility, assisted living, board and care, etc. You can find a lot of very useful information and resources at California... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: Does living brother in SD have to or can I file for CA decedent's bank account? (no will)

My deceased step father's-step father passed here in CA, I called him grandpa. No will. Nearest living relative (brother) is in SD but has no interest in $50,000 bank account. Can I inherit?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Sep 2, 2018

Only if you were legally adopted by your stepfather. The process for the brother to receive the proceeds of the bank account are not all that difficult. If no one claims the account after a period of approximately 3 years, the proceeds will "escheat" or transfer to the State of California.

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: WHAT TYPE LAWYER FOR MY CASE?

My eldest adult son obtained Orange County Superior Court determination that I do not have the capacity to handle my own financial and health care decisions. I need you to defend me. Please tell me what type lawyers will help me and defend me. Please explain to me your plan.

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Aug 18, 2018

Sir, please try to delete your personal information from your question as it is not appropriate for any attorney here to contact you directly. You need to look for an attorney here and then contact them.

It does sound as though your son is attempting to establish a conservatorship over...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: Pour over will Do you need a living trust or you need both.
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Aug 15, 2018

The primary purpose of a "pour over" will is to transfer any property into the trust that had not been transferred prior to the death of the trustmaker. For this reason, it always accompanies a revocable trust.

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for California on
Q: deceased brother made a will giving property to our parents when he was single and passed away leaving one child

who has the rights for the property, no other will had been executed.

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Aug 7, 2018

The child has the right to inherit. The child's legal guardian (I'm assuming the child is a minor) should contact a probate attorney.

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: Does Medicare pay for hospice care?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Jul 9, 2018

Yes, Medicare pays for hospice. May I also add that when choosing a hospice provider that you consider a non-profit over a for-profit company. Also, ask them what their nurse-to-patient ratio is. Many for-profit companies will assign each of their nurses far too many patients which results in... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for California on
Q: if cotrustees disagree, can successor trustee be the majority, if states in the trust that majority rules

irrevocable trust where my brother and I are cotrustees, states that majority rules. my son is successor trustee. can he step up and be the final say. brother refuses to sign any documents transferring moms assets to trust account and won't allow distributions to be made. this is holding up the... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Jun 13, 2018

In most trusts, the successor trustee does not step in until such time as one of the original trustees is no longer able to act, so it is not likely that your son would be allowed to step in to then form a majority opinion with you. Hopefully, your trust should have some provision for what... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Elder Law for California on
Q: Is it possible to cancel a reverse mortgage?
Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on Jun 8, 2018

In the initial stages, it can be cancelled, but once it has closed, the only way to get rid of it is to pay it off. It is a very rare situation where I might recommend a reverse mortgage for any of my clients. The RM companies have these wonderful actors on TV claiming how they're the best things... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Elder Law and Health Care Law for California on
Q: Can assisted living facility in California refuse cameras in private quarters because employees do not want it.

I have contacted the Community Care division in Sacramento and was told it's my right to have cameras in his private room. After initially being told, the facility would submit a request for waiver they are now saying the employees at the facility will not agree and they have rights. I understood... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on May 27, 2018

Fortunately, in California we have a very effective non-profit organization, California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, www.CANHR.org, Telephone: (800) 474-1116 who can provide guidance to you. If they can't handle it, they will direct you to an appropriate attorney who can.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for California on
Q: My mother had an amendment to her living trust notorized, but county rejected it. What should I do now?

She passed in February, and Me and my two living sisters are living in her house.

Her wishes was for us to keep the house and that's what we're doing.

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on May 22, 2018

An attorney would have to review the amendment, as well as the living trust to determine if the amendment is valid. It would also depend upon many other circumstances that you need to discuss with an elder law or probate attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Tax Law and Elder Law for California on
Q: Tax question for Medi-Cal Qualifying Trust in California

For an irrevocable trust where the grantor is NOT a beneficiary, if the trust is set up so all the income goes to the beneficiary, and not the grantor, who is trying to qualifying for Medi-Cal, does that mean the beneficiaries have to pay personal income tax on that income?

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on May 22, 2018

These types of irrevocable trusts are typically set up as "grantor" trusts which means that they remain under the Social Security number of your mother and the income is taxed to her. I hope this is not something you are trying to set up yourself as they are typically only prepared by qualified... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Tax Law for California on
Q: I live in California and want to set up a Medi-Cal qualifying trust for my mom's assets, have tax question about it

This would be an irrevocable trust; is it correct that she would not be allowed access to the trust income to qualify for Medi-Cal? If so, does that mean I, as the beneficiary of said irrevocable trust, would have to pay personal income taxes on the trust income? Or is there any way we can both... Read more »

Sally Bergman
Sally Bergman answered on May 21, 2018

These types of irrevocable trusts are typically set up as "grantor" trusts which means that they remain under the Social Security number of your mother and the income is taxed to her. I hope this is not something you are trying to set up yourself as they are typically only prepared by qualified... Read more »

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