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Blog Posts (9)

  • Protecting Assets From Nursing Home Costs

    Let’s face it; it may be tough to think about your or your parent’s future and the likelihood of needing a long-term care facility, such as a nursing home, one day. Even though forty percent of Americans need long-term care by the age of 65, the costs of nursing homes continue to rise. A few years in a nursing home could easily wipe out a lifetime of savings for the average person. Long-term care facilities can suck the life out of your assets and leave you and your family destitute. Medicaid assistance is available for those who can’t afford to pay out of pocket, but you must plan for your future to protect your assets from nursing home costs. How to Protect Your Assets From Nursing Homes As you prepare for your future, it’s crucial to create an asset protection plan that works for you and your family. If you, your spouse, or your parents choose to receive help from Medicaid, it’s essential to consider the five-year “look-back” period for asset transfers. There are a few ways to get around this “look-back” period and ensure you are eligible for Medicaid and other options to protect your assets from nursing home costs. 1. Long-term care insurance. Long-term care insurance covers nursing homes, assisted living, adult daycares, and at-home health care for those with chronic conditions that make it difficult to perform daily activities and need extra assistance. 2. Put assets in an irrevocable trust. An irrevocable trust is a kind of trust that holds your assets and designates beneficiaries. However, this legal entity does not allow you to make changes or cancel the trust. 3. Consider purchasing a Medicaid-compliant annuity. A Medicaid-compliant annuity is needed when a spouse is not institutionalized or in a nursing home. This helps reduce the income Medicaid considers when determining your eligibility for assistance. 4. Create a life estate plan. It’s critical to get ahead of Medicaid’s five-year look-back period by creating a life estate plan with an estate planning attorney you can trust. This life estate plan allows the homeowner to keep the house until they die and pass their property to their chosen person. 5. Save your statements and receipts. To avoid Medicaid’s look-back period, ensure all your bases are covered by saving your statements and receipts for significant expenses and financial gifts. How to Protect Parent’s Assets From Nursing Home As your parents get older, it can be daunting to think about the costs of a nursing home or assisted living facility and determine how to protect their assets. If your parents don’t have a solid asset protection plan, they could face spending their life savings on a nursing home. It’s critical to get ahead of Medicaid’s five-year “look-back” policy and protect you or your parent’s assets from the high prices of nursing homes and spendy assisted-living costs. Reach out to a trusted attorney to help you and your family develop a strong asset protection plan.

  • Will vs. Trust: Knowing the Difference

    You probably think wills and trusts are only for the rich or retired. We’re here to tell you that not only can anyone have a will and trust, but everyone should. But which document is best for you? Read below to find out! While a will and a trust are two separate documents with many differences depending on your circumstance, they are two of the defining pillars of estate planning. Both are used as instruments to ensure your assets are administered the way you want them, avoiding the dreaded probate court. You may benefit from one more than the other, but when used together you are better prepared to reach your specific estate planning goals. It is paramount to plan and prepare for your future, and making these tough decisions now with a trusted attorney can make things easier for your loved ones when the time comes. What is a Will? A will is a legal document created with your attorney that outlines how your estate and assets will be distributed after your death or in the event you become mentally incapacitated. A will can: Nominate guardians for minors and pets Designate where property and assets go Specify funeral arrangements Having a will on its own is a great first step in the estate planning process, but there are some drawbacks to having a will stand on its own. It does not provide protection during incapacity, is only effective after death, is still prone to be submitted and contested in probate court, and is available to the public, unlike a trust. A trust will also take precedence over a will at the time of asset distribution. What is a Trust? Trust is both a separate legal entity and a fiduciary relationship. The creator of a trust—the grantor—can give control of assets to a third party, the beneficiary. With trusts, the grantor holds all control and grants access to certain assets with specific rules and conditions. The grantor creates contingencies that determine when a beneficiary can receive the assets, such as reaching a certain age or designating help to look over children with special needs. A trust can: Grant significant control over when and how assets are distributed Apply to all assets funding the trust Allow for several tax exemptions Trusts are more complex than wills but guarantee the exemption of probate. The Main Difference Between Wills & Trusts The primary difference between wills and trusts is when each goes into effect. A Will don't go into effect until you pass away, while trusts are effective immediately upon funding. Can You Have Both a Will and a Living Trust? Depending on your situation, you may have one or the other. Each document provides a different solution and strengthens an estate plan when used together. Sit down with a trusted and knowledgeable attorney to determine what would be the best solution for your situation.

  • How to Become an Estate Planning Attorney

    Being an estate planning attorney is a great career if you have the patience to see it through. It can take time to break into the field, but once you’re in, it’s a rewarding job. People trust you with their estate's planning process, and you get to help them make sure their loved ones are cared for after they’re gone. This career can help individuals, families, and friends find peace and ease when their loved one passes away, knowing that you helped get their assets in order before their passing. What is an Estate Planner? Estate planning attorneys offer guidance on preparing one's affairs and assets before mental incapacitation or in case of death – because, let's face it, we're all going to kick the bucket someday. Estate planning attorneys have years of experience in education, mentoring, and legal practice. Without a trusted attorney, decisions about assets and properties would be left to the next of kin, which can be messy and dramatic for some families. Reasons Why You Should Become an Estate Planning Attorney 1. You are able to think long-term and plan for the future. As an estate planner, you work closely with families over a long period of time, helping them even through generations. If one client passes away, it’s common for their other family members to enlist you as their estate planning attorney for themselves or other loved ones. 2. You love to help people. Assisting clients towards the end of their life is a delicate job and one that requires empathy and care. If helping people is among your greatest joys, becoming an estate-planning lawyer might be the ideal career for you. If your client dies, you will likely have to speak to their family members and loved ones. This requires that you be able to help others in difficult times. 3. You enjoy working in financial and taxation situations. Clients trust their estate planners with their money and assets, so it’s important that you have a good understanding of managing funds. As an estate planning attorney, you will manage their property, assets, trust funds, investments, insurance, and savings and checking accounts. What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do? Construct a living will, last will, and testament Set up and manage trust accounts Naming an executor and power of attorneys Identifying all beneficiaries Naming a guardian for minor children Managing debts and minimizing taxes and legal fees Creating a blueprint or a set of instructions for passing your valuables Ensuring preferences for funeral arrangements are taken into consideration Finalizing instructions for care if you become ill and are unable to make decisions Obtaining life insurance, disability income insurance, and long-term care insurance How to Become an Estate Planning Attorney If you’re interested in becoming an estate planning attorney, it’s crucial to get a strong education and as much experience as possible. Specializing in finance, tax, and accounting can be a strong starting point, but ultimately having a degree from an accredited law school is essential. You also need to take and pass the state bar exam in order to receive your law degree. If you’re considering becoming an estate planning attorney, it’s good to recognize the skills that are important to have as well as the duties and responsibilities of being a good attorney. Reach out to an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney for some first-hand insight.

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  • K. Kelso Law Firm | Tustin, CA

    Specializing in estate planning, business formation, marital agreements, special needs trusts, and mediation Schedule a Free Consultation K. KELSO LAW K. Kelso Law is a client-centered legal practice specializing in estate planning, general contract law, business formation, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, special needs trusts and mediation services throughout Southern California. Estate planning is for anyone and everyone, no matter the size and value of your assets, or whether you’re just starting a family or planning for retirement. Empower yourself and protect your future today. K. Kelso Law delivers the highest quality legal services combined with cost-effective and affordable pricing and payment options. At K. Kelso Law, we recognize that our clients are people, not contracts. Our goal is to reduce the legal jargon and make each client’s legal needs and solution options as understandable as possible. Whether you need a prenup before tying the knot, a will, trust, and power of attorney, or help with a divorce, we’ve got you covered. ​ K. Kelso Law is a woman-owned law firm with a commitment to mentoring other women who share the dream of practicing law. TRANSPARENCY Put your trust in a firm that is dedicated to transparency: From our fees to our strategy and plan of action, there are no surprises and no hidden agendas. COMPASSION FOR CLIENTS Our mission is to connect with clients from all walks of life and to prioritize community outreach and a passion for philanthropy. LICENSED MEDIATOR Our services include mediation performed by trained and licensed mediators, helping you avoid the emotional and legal costs of going to court. PRACTICE AREAS BOUTIQUE LAW FIRM ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING Start your asset protection planning process today and prevent your hard-earned assets from being unfairly taken by creditors or judgment. ESTATE PLANNING Start early – estate planning is for everyone, regardless of age or circumstance. Creating a good plan to prevent heartaches and headaches down the line is essential. SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING Start a plan for your loved ones with special needs to protect them and their benefits. Create a blueprint for their future with a compassionate, experienced, and certified attorney you can trust, ensuring long-term protection and care for your loved one. BUSINESS LAW Every business can benefit from having a business attorney by their side to assist with everything from formation to operations and management. DIVORCE LAW Prepare for all possible outcomes with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. We can also help resolve the dissolution of a marriage with a settlement agreement. MEDIATION Avoid wasting your precious time and money on court fees and legal services. Stay out of court drama and come to a solution with the help of unbiased guidance from a licensed mediator. TAX LAW Don’t let the legalities and complexities of tax law cut into your income – let’s jump through loopholes together. We’ll listen to any questions you may have and provide all the solutions you’ll need. Schedule a Free Consultation TESTIMONIALS Brett M. Newport Beach, CA Kate is one of the smartest people I know. She learns quickly, thinks before she speaks or acts, and cares deeply about the people around her. Janelle I. Pacific Beach, San Diego, CA Kate Kelso is professional and thorough. She took the time to walk us through everything and was very responsive. Diana H. Kate was very helpful and helped explain everything to us. She was very patient with us. And very organized. I would highly recommend her to friends and family. View Testimonals

  • Testimonials | K. Kelso Law RLLP

    K. KELSO LAW TESTIMONIALS At K. Kelso Law, we work consistently to provide you with the best legal care, while being affordable and attainable. We are confident in our expertise, but we love to receive any and all feedback. We appreciate reviews from our clients and we hope you take a moment to look through the kind words others have said about K. Kelso Law. Kate was very helpful and helped explain everything to us. She was very patient with us. And very organized. I would highly recommend her to friends and family. Diana H. I am 72 years old and am a retired Aerospace Engineer. I was a Project Manager for the B-2 Stealth Bomber at Northrop Grumman Corp. After retirement from Northrop I started my own Aerospace Company and was CEO for several years. I tell you this because during my 72 years I had the occasion to interface with many attorneys for estate planning, wills, corporate law both for and against my companys as well as adoption attorneys for the legal adoption of my two grandchildren. During these experiences, I retained many attorneys and found three things I respected and needed. First was obvious knowledge of the law. Second was the knowledge and implementation of the legal process. Third was the personal connection and relationship between attorney and client. It was difficult to ascertain which attorney had these qualifications when a client like myself searched for an attorney to do a specific job. In actuality, I found none that had all three qualities to the degree I wanted. I needed legal assistance for a very complex estate planning and will related to a very large distribution I am receiving from my Aerospace firm. It also involves my two adopted grandchildren and who will take care of them when I pass as well as how they will figure into the estate. Kate was recommended to me by a friend who is a very successful financial planner. He has tremendous respect for her along with many accolades. We arranged the meeting and here is what I found. She was so very personable I wanted her as my attorney in 5 minutes. I spent an hour going through all my issues with this complex estate both for the financial part as well as the children part. She was sincerely interested in my feelings and quickly understood what I was trying to accomplish. She explained many of the legal ramifications of what I was trying to do and she gave me options with pros and cons for all of them. She was very knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to use the legal process to accomplish what I needed. She contacted me soon after and had some questions and ideas for me. This was not a simple situation because my Aerospace company had classified projects which caused problems for me to convey to her exactly how I dissolved my company. She got through all the problems and made a workable plan that I liked. I tell you all this because she is the first attorney I had in my 72 years that had all 3 qualifications I stated above. She is not only well versed in the legal venue but is truly a nice, compassionate person who is sincere. I trust her explicitly with millions of dollars and my 2 children and I can't give a better recommendation than that. She is someone I would be proud to have as my daughter. I hope this helps a little. Stay safe and God bless. Most respectfully, Bruce E. Fox Kate has been such a trusted resource to my family. She helped us navigate very challenging times with compassion and good counsel. She put us at ease and gave us a flat fee which was one less thing to worry about. I'm grateful to have Kate in my corner and highly recommend her to anyone. S. M. Kate Kelso is professional and thorough. She took the time to walk us through everything and was very responsive. Her knowledge and expertise made the process easy and we couldn't be happier! Highly recommend her for any estate planning needs Janelle I. Kate Kelso helped me with my parents' estate with empathy and attentiveness, as our situation was urgent, she executed our case with care and for that I'm truly grateful to have her business. Thank you Kate! Heidi M. I was referred to Kate by a friend who had worked with her on an estate plan. My older brother recently inherited funds and needed a plan. He's not the easiest to work with as he tends to procrastinate and not want to deal with things. Kate was amazing. She was sensitive to his needs, both financially and personally, and created a well-structured and complete estate plan (including will, trust, DPOA, health care directive, etc. etc.) that he won't have to update for a long time. She kept things moving along even when he failed to return anything! She's a pleasure to work with, gives you a fair price upfront, and does exceptionally good work. When my brother went to have the paperwork notarized, the notary commented that he rarely saw such clear and thorough work! Kudos to Kate. B.T. Kate is excellent at helping clients understand that not only do they need a will and trust, but also that many people fail to actually place their family assets into the name of their trust. This is a common mistake made by families, and often a follow-up that many attorneys fail to help clients implement. Kate is very thorough from the beginning of the planning process through completion. Excellent at what she does! Keep up the great work! Jason K. I was a bit nervous about starting my estate plan, but Kate really put me at ease. She patiently explained the process, gave me options, and truly made me feel like I was in good hands. I've already recommended her to my family and friends because having an estate plan is so important! Andrea D. It took several weeks to find the right attorney to represent my interest in dealing with this divorce. When I found Kate and was greeted with a hug it meant more than just someone representing me in a court of law. Kate Kelso is more than attorney who understands the law. Kate takes on the role as your partner during these difficult times with a spiritual understanding to what I am going through. Kate also has a keen eye for art and that goes quite well with me. Looking forward to this being over so we can be friends....or maybe BFF's. David R. Kate made the chore of drafting my estate plan so easy and enjoyable. She put my mind at ease right away and is truly an expert in her field! I researched many attorneys before going to Kate and she didn't disappoint. I had no stress and am so thankful for her! Alexis L. Kate is an extremely hard working and exceptionally passionate attorney that I would recommend to anyone! Her affordable rates are a huge bonus on top of her dedicated and diligent work. Alexandra G. I used K. Kelso Law for my mother's estate plan. She was very patient explaining our options and made us feel comfortable moving forward in the process. She really cares about her clients and I recommend her highly! Brittany B. Kate Kelso is an amazing estate planning attorney. She truly helped my case and made it as smooth as possible. She is knowledgeable, reliable, trustworthy and very personable. I would highly recommend her to anyone! Thank you again Kate! :) Rachel P. I was referred to Kate by a friend to take care of getting my aging parents' Trust, Will, and Power of Attorney's updated. Prior to finding Kate I found various attorneys that worked on an hourly basis that I really didn't feel comfortable with. Once in contact with Kate I found her communication with me to be as if I was speaking to one of my friends or family, very professional and at the same time normal. My parents are in their mid 70's and I love them dearly, however with no offense to them, sometimes a conversation with them can take 1-2 hours when the same conversation with someone else would take 30 minutes. The point I am making here is that Kate was very patient with them, spent long periods of time speaking with them about their needs while still moving the needle to get the project completed. In the end she was able to get everything in order (even during COVID), I was also so impressed on how well she worked with them I extended the agreement to include a professional business contract to structure a sale of my parents family business. Both services ended well, I would definitely recommend using Kate for your attorney needs. John S. Quotation Mark Kate made my experience in preparing my family's trust seamless and thorough. She was very patient and helped address all of mine and my husband's concerns. It's not often you find an attorney who cares. Cynthia B. Quotation Marks Kate led us through the process of creating our Revocable Trust with patience and care. She was skilled at getting us to clarify our thoughts and expectations. Complex issues were discussed and sorted out with her assistance. It was painless. Kate always had a smile and we felt that we not only found a new attorney but also a friend. Dean S. Quotation Mark Kate is top-notch. I've known her for years, and she has continually impressed me with her sharpness, and her true willingness to get in and help people. I would definitely recommend her. I think anyone who ends up working with Kate is in very safe hands. Michele L. Quotation Mark Kate is excellent at helping clients understand that not only do they need a will and trust, but also that many people fail to actually place their family assets into the name of their trust. This is a common mistake made by families, and often a follow-up that many attorneys fail to help clients implement. Kate is very thorough from the beginning of the planning process through completion. Excellent at what she does! Keep up the great work! Jason K.

  • Special Needs Trusts | K. Kelso Law RLLP

    SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS & PLANNING WITH K. KELSO LAW WHAT IS A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST? At K. Kelso Law, we specialize in providing special needs trusts to protect your loved one’s future. A special needs trust allows a person with special needs to receive income without reducing their ability to receive public assistance disability benefits. We’re here to help you and your family create a plan that will work best for your loved one with special needs. SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING If you have a loved one with special needs, creating a plan for their future will bring peace of mind to you and your family. Special needs planning is the broad process of preparing for the future of your loved one with disabilities. This will ensure your family member will receive resources and as well as public benefits so they are taken care of, even if you’re not around. WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER WITH SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING? There are many factors that go into making your special needs plan. Our goal is to ensure that your loved one with special needs is taken care of while receiving all of their public health benefits. Each situation is different. It's important to consider the potential needs of your loved one with special needs. If you have multiple children but one with special needs, you need to consider how your trusts will affect each of them and who will have primary responsibility for your loved one with special needs. INCLUDING CONSERVATORSHIPS IN YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING We make sure to cover all the bases at K. Kelso Law, so you can decide what would work best for you and your family. When creating your special needs plan, you might consider a conservatorship. A conservatorship is when a guardian or caretaker is appointed by a judge to help make decisions for the person with special needs. WHY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE K. KELSO LAW FOR SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING? Getting the legal aspects right is especially important when it affects someone who can’t speak up for their own interests, now or in the future. At K. Kelso Law, we’re confident we can create a special needs plan that will take care of your loved one according to your wishes, now and in the future. Our team will analyze the support system available for the person with special needs and evaluate potential changes needed as they age. After you pass, we help execute your wishes and the disbursement of funds from the special needs trust to take care of your loved one. We also provide a wide variety of relationships with care managers and service providers and utilize their skills to help facilitate the process. Schedule a Free Consultation LEARN MORE ABOUT SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS Watch this video from Kate to learn more about special needs trusts and the benefit of having one in place.

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