Elder Law Attorney – Carl Brown

The senior citizens of today are living longer than ever before. While this is good news, it also presents a greater likelihood that they will experience prolonged illness and disability at some point in their later years. Helping the Elderly and Their Families Plan for a Secure Future. A longer lifespan also increases the chances of running out of money, draining individuals and families of the financial resources they need to maintain a decent quality of life.

Due to the inevitable challenges of aging, it’s important to prepare in advance for the future. Putting plans in place now will give you and your family peace of mind and a sense of empowerment in knowing that you’ll be well-equipped to handle whatever comes your way.

If you or a loved one are approaching your elder years and would like to begin the process of planning for your future, contact Carl L. Brown today at (559) 431-4400 or fill out the form below.

Our firm provides legal services in the areas of elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medi-Cal eligibility, elder abuse and much more.

Lawyer for the Elderly in Fresno, CA and Surrounding Counties

Elder law lawyer Carl Brown is committed to helping the senior population and their families in Fresno, CA and surrounding counties navigate the financial, legal and emotional challenges of getting older. It’s never too early to seek legal advice. Don’t wait for the unexpected to happen.

Practice Areas

  • Planning for long-term care: how to pay for in-home care, assisted living facilities,
    nursing home care, etc.

  • Estate Planning: draft documents such as Wills, Living Trusts, Durable Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives

  • Creating Trusts

  • Asset Protection

  • Conservatorship

  • Probate

  • Medi-Cal eligibility and planning

  • Elder abuse

Long-Term Elder Care Planning

At least 70% of people over the age of 65 will require long-term care services due to aging, chronic illness or disability. Individuals in need of long-term care generally require assistance with daily activities such as feeding, dressing, bathing, medication management, etc.

An individual can receive long-term care and support in a variety of settings such as:

  • nursing home facilities

  • adult day health care

  • residential care facilities

  • home-based care

How Will I Pay For Long-Term Elder Care?

The costs for long-term care services have skyrocketed over the past few years, often exceeding what individuals and families can afford. In California, long-term care averages between $8,000 to $12,000 per month. Some estimates suggest that by 2037, the cost of long-term care in California may average over $23,000 per month.

Without some type of financial assistance, it’s not uncommon for a person’s life savings to be completely wiped out.

Carl L. Brown is dedicated to making sure this doesn’t happen to you and your family. With the right financing and estate planning, these costs can be managed successfully and you can live comfortably without worry.

Long-Term Care Insurance 

If you are insurable and can afford the premiums, Long-Term Care Insurance is an option.

Carl L. Brown can help you choose an insurance policy that has enough coverage to cover the services you need.  Long-Term Care Insurance isn’t for everyone, however. The premiums may be too high or you may have a pre-existing condition which disqualifies you from coverage. In this instance, you’ll most likely need to pursue federal and state funding.

Medi-Cal Planning and Asset Preservation

For many Californians, Medi-Cal is the most viable option. Medi-Cal is the state’s

version of the federal Medicaid program, which provides medically necessary health care services to those who qualify.

Most importantly, Medi-Cal offers coverage for skilled nursing home care and other long term care expenses for seniors. It’s important to note that Medicaid’s sister program, Medicare, does not provide coverage for an extended nursing home stay.

There’s a common misconception that in order to qualify for Medi-Cal you need to deplete all of your resources. This is untrue. While the program has limits on the amount of assets a single or married couple are allowed to have, the law also allows for various exemptions.

Elder Law Lawyer Carl Brown can help you meet the criteria for Medi-Cal while legally preserving most, if not all, of your hard earned assets for you and your loved ones.

He can help you to:

  • reallocate non-exempt assets and turn them into exempt assets so you can meet eligibility requirements

  • reduce or eliminate monthly co-payments known as “share of cost”

  • preserve the family home

The Medi-Cal application process is extremely complicated and intimidating, but our firm has the expertise to guide you every step of the way.

Protect Your Assets and Family With Estate Planning

Estate planning can be an uncomfortable topic for some people. No one wants to dwell on their own mortality or the possibility of becoming incapacitated in some way. Despite the sensitivity surrounding the topic, creating an estate plan is a necessary step in making sure your affairs are in order and your family is cared for.

Estate planning is a complex and multi-dimensional process that involves the management and distribution of your assets, both while you are still living and after your death.

Purpose of Estate Planning

An “estate” is comprised of all the property you own at the time of your death, including:

  • real estate

  • bank accounts

  • stocks and other securities

  • life insurance policies

  • personal belongings

  • automobile

An estate plan allows you to:

  • designate representatives to make decisions about your physical and financial well-being in the event of incapacity

  • provide inheritance instructions — who gets what, when they get it and how

Essential Estate Planning Documents

Elder Law Lawyer Carl Brown will customize an estate plan tailored to you and your family’s needs and articulate your wishes through the following essential documents:

  • Living Trust

  • Will

  • Durable Power of Attorney

  • Healthcare Power of Attorney

  • Advanced Healthcare Directive

  • HIPAA Authorization

Avoid Probate with a Revocable Living Trust

When you are deceased, your estate will go through a court-managed process called probate whereby your assets will be managed and distributed. The probate process is lengthy, time consuming and a matter of public record. This can be very stressful for your family. Luckily, you can bypass probate by creating a funded living trust. A revocable living trust is a written agreement that allows you to establish a separate legal entity (trust) to hold legal title to your assets while you are still alive.

A trustee must be appointed to manage these assets. If you are in good health, you will want to name yourself as the trustee so you can be in full control of your assets and do what you want with them. You are entitled to change, amend, or dissolve the trust at any time for any reason at your own discretion.

Upon your death or disability, the person who you name as your trustee successor will administer the distribution of your assets held in the trust to your beneficiaries.

Elder law attorney Carl Brown can help you create a trust that is in accordance with your wishes — whether that means making sure your assets are passed on to your beneficiaries immediately after death or payments are spread out over time in specific amounts. Brown can also include tax savings clauses to reduce state and federal estate taxes.

Will

A will is a written legal document that outlines your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets at your death. A will is often used in conjunction with a Living Trust and enables you to:

  • Name an executor of your estate to oversee the process of carrying out your will after your death

  • Designate a guardian for minor children

  • Distribute your property to beneficiaries of your choosing

If you do not have a will, state law will determine to whom your assets are distributed regardless of your wishes or the wishes of loved ones.

Incapacity Planning

In the event that you become incapacitated, it’s necessary to designate people you trust to manage your affairs if you are unable to do so.

Your wishes must be outlined in a series of legal documents (listed below).  If you fail to put a plan in place, your loved ones will most likely have to petition the court to declare you legally incompetent. This is a lengthy and stressful process that should be avoided at all costs.

  • Appoint a Durable Power of Attorney: By giving someone your “Power of Attorney” you are granting authorization for him or her to manage your finances (pay your bills, withdraw money from accounts, take distributions from your IRA, etc.) and legal affairs in the event that you are incapacitated and cannot do so yourself.

  • Appoint a Healthcare Power of Attorney: This enables you to authorize another person to make important healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacity. The Healthcare Power of Attorney will also carry out your wishes regarding end-of-life.

  • Set Up an Advanced Health Care Directive: States your wishes regarding prolonging life — the use of medical devices such as feeding tubes, measures to resuscitate or not resuscitate, or the administration of drugs for pain should you become terminally ill.

  • HIPAA authorization: Allows designated persons access to your medical records.

Fierce Advocate For Elder Abuse Victims

Senior citizens deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and enjoy their golden years in peace. As the aging population increases, more and more seniors will require some type of long-term care.

Placing your well-being or the wellbeing of a loved one in someone else’s care is based on a sacred trust. Unfortunately, that trust is sometimes abused which can result in physical, emotional and financial mistreatment.

Potential Abusers

  • assisted living facilities

  • nursing homes

  • home health providers

  • financial advisers

  • family member

Nursing Home Elder Abuse

More than 80% of skilled nursing homes in California are operated by for-profit companies. Facilities who put their bottom line before the well-being of their patients/residents often have staff that is overworked and poorly trained.