Elder Law

Monday, December 5, 2016

How to Claim Death Benefits

Claiming Death Benefits in Ontario

The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences to deal with in life. What makes the situation even harder is the financial aspect that accompanies funeral and burial expenses. Money is often the last thing grieving families want to think about, but, unfortunately, expenses related to death must be paid fairly soon after a loved one has passed. This is especially true if the deceased was the main provider of income for the family, and the family needs some assets to make it through until other arrangements can be made. Luckily, there are ways to receive death benefits quickly to help pay for these end-of-life expenses, and hopefully bring some small comfort to families during their time of need.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What is a Pooled Trust and how can Seniors or People with Disabilities Benefit From One?

What is a Pooled Trust and how can Seniors or People with Disabilities Benefit From One?


When making decisions on care and insurance coverage for disabled and/or elderly loved ones, it’s easy to get lost in the myriad of choices and complicated regulations.  With Medicare and Medicaid there are income caps, so individuals often do not qualify because their income exceeds the eligibility limits. A Special Needs Trust can also be set up, but these are only for people under age 65.


How can an individual with disabilities qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and get the care they need if they are over 65 or have been told they are ineligible for these coverages due to income? A good solution is to use a Pooled Trust.


If your loved one with disabilities is a child, you need to ensure that they will be cared for in the event of your death.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Working the an Elder Lawyer can Save YOU Money on Nursing Homes

Working with an Elder Lawyer In Ontario  to Save Big on Nursing Home Costs

Elder lawyers in Ontario are well-versed on the ins-and-outs of nursing home expenses, and they continually work with seniors to determine how best to lower costs and protect assets.  One recommendation that does not always get enough attention is to spend a little on remodeling your home to save big on nursing home costs down the road.

Nursing homes and retirement homes provide a lot of benefits to the elderly, but there are times when moving into one of these facilities may not be entirely warranted.  Instead of pulling out the brochures and comparing amenities early on, seniors might want to consider looking at ways to upgrade their own homes to spend more time living completely or partially independently.

The average cost of nursing home care in the Ontario area is continuing to rise.
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Caregivers Take Care of YOU too!

Caregivers – Here Are 10 Critical Things You Should Do to Take Care of YOU!

If you are a frequent reader of our Ontario elder law blog, you know that we talk a lot about how to take care of your older and/or disabled loved ones. We are passionate about helping people spend their end of life as comfortably and securely as possible.

However, one thing that we don’t discuss quite as frequently is how to help you, the caregiver, take care of your elderly loved one while making sure that YOU stay healthy and secure. That is why we offer you this quick test to see if you are remembering how important you are and if you are taking steps to ensure that you take care of yourself.

Please check the appropriate column for each response.
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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Getting Tax Deductions from Assisted Living Expenses

Ontario Elder Law Attorney: Getting Tax Deductions from Assisted Living Expenses

The costs of assisted living facilities continue to rise for seniors and their families, leaving them struggling to make sure their loved ones are receiving the care they need and deserve. While it seems like sometimes there is just no relief from these rising costs, Ontario elder law attorneys often advise their clients about tax deductions which may be available to them. Medical expenses (which include many long-term care expenses) that account for more than 10% of gross adjusted income for taxpayers under 65 and more than 7.5% of gross adjusted income for taxpayers 65 and older are deductible. However, there are many qualifications that must be met in order to receive these tax benefits.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to Avoid Stress at the End of Life

Ontario Estate Lawyer: 4 Steps to Avoid Stress at the End of Life

In general, Americans are very uncomfortable talking about end-of-life issues. It can be hard for people to think about (and plan for) their own death, let alone the death of their loved ones. I get it.

Yet by not discussing these issues, you are leaving your future caregivers (most often your adult children) in an impossible position. Many people are taken completely off-guard when their elderly parents start to decline.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Vacation Home During Estate Settlement

Dealing with a Vacation Home During Wills and Trusts Administration

Wills and trusts administration lawyers in Southern California often have the opportunity to work with local families who—in addition to planning for their regular home—also have a vacation home to take into consideration during the planning process. While you might think that real estate prices or the vacation home’s location would be the driving forces behind putting it through the wills and trusts administration process, there are actually other, highly compelling reasons.

Vacation homes don’t just come with the baggage you pack to spend a family holiday on the lake, in the woods, or on the coast; they also come with a lot of emotional history. By working with a wills and trusts administration lawyer, those leaving the vacation home behind can take this history into consideration. They may be best served to really spend some time taking their heirs’ perspectives into consideration when determining how the home should be handled.

For some family members, the vacation home may be an important part of family history, full of memories and personal rites of passage. These folks might prefer that the property be safeguarded in some sort of trust or passed as-is to heirs in a will. On the other hand, there may be family members who are less emotionally attached to the home and see it as their parents’ investment in a stable financial future. These family members would be more inclined to sell the property and share the proceeds.

There are plenty of other aspects of the situation that the original owners would want to explore with a wills and trusts administration lawyer in Southern California. For example, would any potential heirs be financially able to maintain the property, pay taxes on it, etc? If not, then it may be time to consider either selling the vacation home or finding a means to fund the trust so it can meet these obligations.

Other thoughts to keep in mind:

  • Do heirs live close enough to the vacation home to actually use it?
  • Could you leave the vacation home to those who would most appreciate it and balance that with a different inheritance for others?
  • Is there someone you could name as a trustee who could oversee the property on behalf of the trust?
  • Would it be possible for some family members to buy others out of their portion of the property?
  • Could the property be rented out when not in use by family members as a way to support its own upkeep?

Because there are so many variables that can come into play—money, grief, family tension, tradition, etc., etc., dealing with a vacation property during estate planning is something that is probably best done under the guidance of an experienced wills and trusts administration lawyer in Southern California.

For additional questions about estate planning in C

Friday, January 8, 2016

How to Avoid a Conservatorship

 San Bernardino & Riverside Counties Estate Planning Attorney: How to Avoid a Conservatorship

Let’s start off by saying that not all conservatorships are bad. Conservatorships play a vital role in San Bernardino & Riverside Counties by allowing caretakers the means to make financial (Conservator of the Estate) and health (Conservator of the Person) related decisions for those who are not able to anymore and have no one else to speak for them.

Unfortunately, court appointed conservatorships sometimes do not work out in the best interests of the conservatee or his or her family, so many San Bernardino & Riverside Counties estate planning lawyers are often asked to advise their clients about the best ways to avoid a conservatorship. The simple answer is that advanced planning can almost always keep a person’s affairs out of the probate court, and the following are some of the tools San Bernardino & Riverside Counties estate planning attorneys use to ensure their clients have a say in who will handle their affairs for them when they are no longer able.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a document that grants an agent authority to act on behalf of a person (the principal) in various financial matters, such as paying bills, buying and selling real estate, or even conducting business dealings. Either a Springing Power of Attorney (in effect only if the principal is incapacitated) or a Durable Power of Attorney (in effect at the time of signing) could help avoid a Conservator of the Estate being appointed by the Probate Court as an agent has already been designated to handle these financial decisions.

However, there have been some cases where the agent has been accused of mismanaging financial affairs or decides not to act as Power of Attorney, thus leading to conservatorship hearings. San Bernardino & Riverside Counties estate planning attorneys advise their clients to choose someone who they can trust to handle their finances fairly, and to also be sure that the person being named on the document is aware of the situation and agrees to serve in that vital role.

Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Agent

The Living Will and Designation of Healthcare Agent are documents which lay out what type of medical care a person wants and who should make medical decisions for that person in the event of incapacitation. Once again, the Health Care Agent should be someone who understands the importance of this role and can be trusted to make important medical decisions on behalf of the principal. Otherwise, the Probate Court may have to appoint a Conservator of the Person.   

Designation of Conservator

Even if both the Power of Attorney and Health Care Agent documents fail in their intended purposes and a conservatorship must be put in place, there is still one document which can help to ensure that a person is placed under the care of a conservator of their own choosing instead of someone appointed by the Probate Court. The Designation of Conservator is a document in which a person can name the agents he or she would like to serve as either Conservator of the Estate, Conservator of the Person, or both. The Designation of Conservator is presented to the Probate Court during conservatorship proceedings to inform the judge that the conservatee made a decision of sound mind to appoint specific people to these conservator roles. San Bernardino & Riverside Counties estate planning lawyers find that Probate Court judges often appoint those named in the Designation of Conservator, as the document allows the conservatee to make his or her wishes known even if he or she is incapacitated.

If you have any questions about how a San Bernardino & Riverside Counties estate planning attorney can help avoid a conservatorship, please contact us at 909 590-9545909 590-9545 to set up a consultation.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Future of the Federal Estate Tax

Chino & Chino Hills Estate Tax Attorney: The Future of the Federal Estate Tax

The IRS just announced the 2016 federal estate tax rate limits, which are $5.45 million for individuals and $10.9 million for married couples. This means that wealthy Americans will be able to leave up to $10.9 million to their heirs without being subject to federal estate tax rates, which top out at 40%. In addition, the federal gift tax exemption will remain at $14,000, meaning gifts made up to that amount will not be taxed by the federal government.

While these estate tax rates have stayed fairly consistent over the past few years, Chino & Chino Hills estate tax attorneys have recently been asked by their clients how they think the 2016 Presidential election may affect the federal tax limits. By and large, the answer all depends on who gets elected to the White House, as the political parties and presidential candidates have differing views on what should be done with the estate tax.

The Democratic candidates, through proposals and past actions, are against lowering estate tax limits. Hillary Clinton has a track record of voting against raising the federal gift tax exemptions – in 2006 she voted against raising the exemption to $5 million, and in 2007 she voted against repealing “death taxes.” While she has no specific proposal in place for changing the federal estate tax exemptions, her voting record gives some insight into which direction she may go if elected President. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, actually does have a proposal in place for what he calls a “Responsible” estate tax, which includes a $3.65 million limit and a 65% top estate tax rate.

The Republican field, by and large, are in favor of either lowering the estate tax limits or abolishing the estate tax altogether. Front runner Donald Trump, along with Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Mike Huckabee, have all proposed either eliminating the federal estate tax or letting individual states decide whether or not they want to collect estate taxes. John Kasich and Carly Fiorina have not put forth any specific proposals for how they would approach the estate tax, but Kasich eliminated the estate tax in Ohio during his time as governor.

No matter who is elected President, it’s important to note that he or she does not actually have the power to eliminate the estate tax, since Congress is the branch of government that controls taxes. This past year, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to repeal the estate tax, while the Senate may vote on its own repeal bill next year. That being said, whoever is elected President will have the ability to either veto or sign into law whatever changes are made by Congress to the federal estate tax.

No matter who wins the 2016 election, <insert county> estate tax attorneys are expecting big changes to come to the federal estate tax limits. If you have any questions about how the federal estate tax exemptions can affect you, or if you qualify for an exemption from state estate taxes, please contact us at 909 590-9545909 590-9545 to set up a consultation.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Hiring the Right Probate Lawyer in Chino

Hiring the Right Probate Lawyer in Chino

When a friend or family member passes away, someone will be named as the executor of that person’s estate.  Because of the length and complexity of the process that follows, it’s usually in everyone’s best interest to hire a skilled Chino probate lawyer.  There are different kinds of probate lawyers, but most executors find themselves in need of someone to help with the transactional aspects of the probate process.  On the other hand, if there are lawsuits involved regarding the estate, a probate litigator may be a better way to go.

Choosing Your Chino Probate Lawyer

Once you’ve determined which type of probate lawyer makes the most sense, you’ll find that there are still more choices to make.  Start by looking at lawyers that have considerable experience in probate.  Alongside this, you will also want to consider what other areas of expertise and experience that lawyer has.  If your loved one’s estate consists of a lot of antiques, for example, you’ll want to hire a Chino probate lawyer who is familiar with getting appraisals for these types of items. 

There is a lot of information available online about the different lawyers you want to further consider.  You’ll likely be able to find out about their education, how long they’ve been in practice, and what types of work they typically handle.  Double check the probate lawyer’s standing with the Bar Association, what additional certifications he or she might have, and any organizations that the attorney belongs to.  References are also a great way to get to know what previous clients have thought of the probate lawyer’s skill.

Finally, you may choose to meet with the probate lawyer for a consultation.  Many provide this for free, but not all do, so you’ll want to ask about that when making the appointment.  Pay attention to how the staff treats you, too, as you will probably be dealing with them as much as or more than you will with the actual attorney.  Do they make time for you, or are they too busy?  If your calls aren’t being returned in a reasonable time or you can’t get an appointment, then perhaps that particular Chino probate lawyer isn’t the best choice for you.

If you happen to have any special needs, be sure to ask about them, too.  For example, you may find yourself in a position where it would be helpful to have a probate lawyer who can practice in both <insert state> and another state, or you may feel you’ll be best served by a bi-lingual attorney.

Use all of this information to narrow down your list of potential Chino probate lawyers, but don’t overlook the importance of your own impressions.  The probate lawyer will be helping during some potentially difficult times, and it makes sense to work with someone you trust and respect.

Friday, December 18, 2015

How an Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Assets

How a Chino Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help Protect Your Assets

There’s a fairly constant drive that Chino estate planning lawyers see in our society to continually acquire assets.  After all, that’s one of the ways we accumulate wealth, which we then ask the estate planning lawyer to help us pass on.  Simply gathering more and more assets isn’t always the best approach to building wealth, however. Those assets also need to be protected.  A good Chino estate planning lawyer will likely want to go over ways to do just that, which can include:

  1. Estate planning.Of course your estate planning lawyer is going to want to help you put together a long-term plan that can provide for your loved ones. Most people don’t necessarily understand all of the tax implications that go along with various aspects of estate planning, though.For example, a fairly simple trust can help your heirs avoid a lot of taxes, which means the amount you leave to them will be larger. Certain types of trusts can also be used to shield your assets from the risks of life (both for you and your heirs), including lawsuits, divorce and bankruptcy. If you’ve always thought trusts were just for super-rich people, then this is definitely something to discuss with a Chino estate planning lawyer.You will likely be amazed at the difference a trust can make.
  2. 2.Insurance. There are so many different types of insurance on the market, and the types that will most benefit you will differ from those of someone else. The important thing to note when it comes to protecting your assets is that having insurance provides a way to pay for the unexpected without depleting your own financial resources.Yes, it costs up front, but it usually works out to be so much less than not having insurance when you need it.
  3. Business structure. If you are a business owner, you may not have considered the structure of your business as a means for protecting it. In fact, the right business structure will protect more than just the business. For example, if a sole proprietor gets sued for a faulty product or workplace injury, his or her personal assets can be used to pay for damages.Operating under a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), on the other hand, can separate your business and personal assets so that one is not affected by the other.

These are just a couple of the myriad of ways that estate planning lawyers in Chino protect their clients’ assets. Every situation is different and has its own needs, of course, and your attorney should be willing to look at yours from every angle to advise you on the best route to take.

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Brock, Robinson & Associates assists clients with Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Special Needs Planning, Pet Trusts, Probate & Estate Administration, and Family Business Preservation in Chino, California as well as Chino Hills, Inland Empire, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, Montclair, Diamond Bar, West Covina, Covina, Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Claremont Fontana, Riverside, Colton, Corona, San Bernardino, Redlands, Orange, Brea, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Hacienda Heights, Eastvale, Norco, Mira Loma, Alta Loma, Upland, Rialto, Highland, Loma Linda and Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County and Orange County.

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