Berge & Berge, LLP Blog

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Can a Person Really Avoid Probate?

You probably hate the idea that one day when you die, random strangers, nosy relatives, or gossiping neighbors might be able to look inside your probate court file and see a list of everything you owned, all your debts, and what assets you gave to which people. There has to be a better way. With careful planning and the help of an estate administration lawyer, you can avoid some aspects of the probate process.
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Monday, February 12, 2018

The Protections of Guardianships for Seniors in California

Q: Can guardianships for seniors help prevent elder abuse?

He almost got away with it. And some speculate he may have had other victims before.

In what surely ranks high on the list of ultimate California elder abuse cases, a so-called caretaker of his wife's elderly distant cousin who died under suspicious circumstances, reportedly received a three-year prison sentence in a last-minute plea bargain in which he pled guilty to:

  • "felony elder abuse,
  • attempted grand theft,
  • possession of a forged driver’s license,
  • money laundering derived from criminal activity,
  • two counts of forgery of notary public or corporate seals,
  • two counts of attempt to file false/forged instruments,
  • four counts of second-degree burglary,
  • seven counts of grand theft; and
  • 23 counts of acts constituting forgery".
    Read more . . .

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How Might the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Affect Your Estate Plan?

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 is the first significant tax remodel in over 30 years. It contains numerous changes to how Americans can keep their money when they earn income, operate businesses, make gifts, and pass assets on to their heirs. To maximize your bottom line after taxes, you need to understand how the TCJA affects your estate plan.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What Veterans’ Benefits are Available to Me in California?

Few Americans do more to earn the benefits of their citizenship than active duty military veterans.  Most people are aware that Congress has approved a special set of benefits for veterans in return for the service they have provided, but fewer are aware that the State of California has also created its own set of special benefits for the 1.8 million veterans who live here.

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Seniors Claim Staff Abandoned Them During Fire

Q: Is alleged abandonment by staff and failure to evacuate assisted living residents during a fire considered elder abuse?

You don't have to live near the California wildfires to have nightmares about losing your home or your life in a fire.

California elder abuse attorneys claim that several elderly residents of an assisted living facility were allegedly "abandoned by staff members while the facility burned during the deadly ‘Tubbs Fire’ in October.”

Reportedly, the three staff members who were responsible for approximately 70 elderly and disabled residents "including a few dozen elders with dementia in a locked unit" did not have a workable evacuation plan when the fire broke out.
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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Crisis Planning for MediCal Asset Protection

As we age, most people’s medical expenses tend to increase, and if it becomes necessary to enter a nursing home or similar facility the costs can potentially bankrupt a family.  Although it’s best to be prepared by having plans in advance to protect your assets in case residential care becomes necessary, life doesn’t always work out that way and sometimes the need to enter a nursing home surprises us.  But when that happens, it’s critical to immediately begin putting together a “crisis plan” to protect financial assets from being drained by the cost of care. An experienced

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Potential Dangers of Filial Responsibility Laws

Q: Are adult children responsible for the costs of their parents’ nursing home care?

California elder law attorneys are skilled in helping adults of all ages-- especially seniors and their loved ones-- plan for a future that maximizes and protects the financial resources they have, plans for the potential of deteriorating health, and hopefully avoids family disputes.

Estate planning is more than just a last will and/or a trust. Other documents such as powers of attorney and living wills enable people to express their end-of-life healthcare decisions and choose agents they trust to handle medical and/or financial transactions and decisions on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated and unable to do so themselves.

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Monday, November 20, 2017

I Own a Small Company - Do I Need a Business Succession Plan?

As a small business owner, no doubt planning and foresight are critical to your success.  So after you’ve spent an entire career building your business by carefully preparing for every possible contingency, why would you change course at the end and leave the future of your business up to fate?  A good business succession plan will allow you to maximize the value of your business and assure its successful transition into the next generation’s hands.

How Do I Create a Succession Plan?

The first and most critical step in creating a business succession plan is to identify and clearly state all of your goals for the plan.
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Putting your Parent in a Nursing Home

Q: Who can choose the facility where a parent will reside?

Whoever said the “Golden Years” were really golden probably never had adult children fighting over the type of adult living facility they were going to put her in.

Seniors who hope to avoid being a victim of elder abuse at the hands of their families or other caregivers should see an estate planning attorney as early as possible to put their legal affairs in order.

Some issues and elder law attorney can assist with, in addition to preparing a will and or trust, include:

  • powers of attorneys and living wills
  • long-term care planning
  • Medicaid and other public benefits planning

In addition to the above, estate planning attorneys handle matters that affect many seniors--especially the large percentage who suffer from dementia.
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Strategic Gifting Plans for High Net Worth Individuals

You have worked hard for many years, and now you want to make sure your loved ones get as much as possible from your estate, without the tax man getting greedy. There are ways to minimize your estate taxes, by using strategic gifting plans for high net worth individuals.

You have options for sheltering your assets from estate taxes, such as making the maximum allowed annual gifts to your loved ones, but if you have a sizeable estate, the annual gifting alone will not protect your estate assets on the scale that you may need. Talk to an estate-planning lawyer to determine if one or more of these three gifting plans may provide the level of tax reduction you are seeking.

Family Limited Partnership

A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

LifePlan Estate Planning is a Plan for Life

Q: What is the best time to consider estate planning?

The answer would be… yesterday. But today is acceptable, too.

It's never too early to see a skilled California estate planning attorney to get your affairs in order.
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