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Can a married couple own their primary CA residence thru a TRUST? Would owning a property thru TRUST protect against lawsuit?: ...

Asked over 3 years ago in Estate Planning

John’s answer: I agree with the attorneys who have responded to your question that a married couple may own their home in a revocable living trust and that such a trust may have substantial benefits for a married couple, but such a trust does not immediately provide any asset protection. The exception to this is when the first spouse later dies, and under properly drafted circumstances, the residence may then flow into an irrevocable subtrust, often called the "B Trust" or "Bypass Trust" which may then provide the surviving spouse with asset protection for the home.

Answered over 3 years ago.


What is the current medi-cal look back period in California? Has it changed to 60 months yet?: My mother needs in-home care and has too many assets that may disqualify her from receiving assistance.

Asked over 3 years ago in Elder Law

John’s answer: The "look back" period in California is still 30 months, because California is one of the only states that has not adopted final regulations to adopt the changes to Medicaid (called "Medi-Cal" in California) passed by the U.S. Congress in 2005. Adoption of final regulations in California are expected "soon" according to Medi-Cal officials in Sacramento. The shorter look back period is only one of the advantages that remain for families facing the high costs of skilled nursing care in California. The opportunity to more readily qualify for Medi-Cal and to later protect cash assets and the family home from Medi-Cal recovery liens will close with the adoption of the final regulations. I encourage any family with Medi-Cal planning concerns not to hesitate to contact an experienced elder law attorney for specific guidance.

Answered over 3 years ago.


Liability for deceased spouse's office lease.: My late spouse and I had a revocable living trust. She had a business in her name only and an office with a lease. The business has been liquidated, the office has been vacated. Am I responsible for the balance of the lease?

Asked almost 7 years ago in Trusts

John’s answer: The prior answer was very thoughtful. The issue turns on whether the lease was community property or her separate property. If it is her separate property and was so identified in the trust and on the lease, you should have no personal liability.

One option is to file a 17200 petition with the court to seek guidance and a declaration of the responsibility for the debt. Another more extreme alternative would be to probate her estate to have the landlord's claim adjudicated and possibly barred if the landlord does not file a timely creditor's claim.

The practical advice to seek a subtenant or resolve the matter though mediation or arbitration with the landlord would avoid the delays and expense of a court proceeding.

John D. Laughton, Esq. is an estate planning attorney and ipractices in Monterey, CA. This answer is for informational purposes only, does not constitute specific legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship with any person. The author emphasizes the need to engage qualified legal and financial professionals when preparing individual estate plans or resolving specific legal issues.

Answered almost 7 years ago.