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Gilfix La Poll salute 10th annual PACE golf charity event

Autism rates are increasing in the United States. More resources and organizations are needed to provide support to families facing the challenges associated with Autism. This is one reason why the Gilfix & La Poll Associates law firm is a proud sponsor the Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE) and its annual golf charity event. Attorney Mark Gilfix also serves on the PACE Board of Directors.

Gilfix La Poll salute 10th annual PACE golf charity event

PACE held the event at the Cinnabar Hills Golf Club in San Jose, California on September 28.

“PACE does so much incredible work that benefits individuals with autism, and their families,” said attorney Mark Gilfix of Gilfix La Poll Attorneys. “The best charities provide much-needed services to society’s overlooked members, and PACE does that right here in the Bay Area.”

Gilfix was among the many golfers who took part in the “best ball” tournament. His team completed their round with an impressive score of 68.

Afterward, Mark Gilfix served as the event emcee, and led the charity auction to help raise more money to assist local families and individuals dealing with autism.

“While it’s always fun to play golf, it’s even more rewarding to help raise money that directly helps our community’s autistic children and adults,” Gilfix said. “The auction was a roaring success, and I was so proud to have the opportunity to lead it.”

A group of concerned parents of those with autism founded the Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE) in 1989 to provide care and educational opportunities for children and adults afflicted with autism. Prior to the founding of PACE, many children with autism were place in traditional classrooms where their needs were overlooked, and their educations lagged.

Now a registered nonprofit, PACE began with 14 students in 1989 and obtained a group home in 1992. Today, PACE serves more than 60 students in preschool through 12th grades and houses 36 children and adults afflicted with autism.

PACE also offers behavioral services for Bay-Area families to help their loved ones with autism to better interact with others and lead happy, fulfilling lives.

Michael and Mark Gilfix speak at Avenidas about tax and planning issues

The Avenidas Center in Palo Alto, California recently invited attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix to help local families better understand how to protect their assets and financial legacies for their heirs. These highly experienced estate-planning and tax attorneys spoke to two packed houses about estate-planning tools and how recent tax reforms are likely to impact them.

In the first talk, Michael and Mark Gilfix focused on long-term care and asset protection and how Palo Alto families can ensure a legacy for their heirs. They explained ways to protect financial and other assets from lawsuits, estate taxes and divorce proceedings to ensure that they are there for their children. They explained new planning approaches, including simplifying revocable trusts to save on taxes, and talked about the pros and cons of reverse mortgages and how they affect retirees.

Ensuring quality long-term care is another important element of long-term estate planning that Michael and Mark Gilfix discussed. The nation has a growing retirement-age population that is increasing the demand for long-term care. Sophisticated Medi-Cal planning can help local qualifying families to protect their homes and assets, while saving potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars skilled nursing care costs.

In the second talk, they spoke about Pres. Donald Trump’s tax reform and its likely impacts on family tax and estate planning. The tax reforms impact irrevocable and revocable trusts, estate taxes and income taxes. Homeowners in particular must be aware of a new set of laws governing real estate transactions and how much of their local property taxes they can deduct from federal tax liabilities.

The tax laws also affect wealthy families in the Palo Alto area, which has some of the nation’s highest property values. Some local families are considering moves to states with lower income taxes to escape the impact of the new federal tax laws. Michael and Mark Gilfix discussed the possible pros and cons of such a decision and how it impacts the ability to protect family assets.

Gilfix and La Poll Associates thanks the Avenidas Center in Palo Alto for inviting Michael Gilfix and Mark Gilfix to give these two presentations. Both of these talks were “sold out,” with large audiences. Michael and Mark were thrilled for the opportunity to reach the Palo Alto community.

French musician Johnny Hallyday’s California will leads to inheritance dispute

French rock star Johnny Hallyday left his family a will when he died of lung cancer at age 74 last December. However, his fourth wife and two adult children have been locked in a legal battle over inheritance of property and artistic rights due to legal complications.

The case involves a conflict between U.S. and French laws. Hallyday wrote his will in California as he lived in Los Angeles with his wife. In France, however, children receive automatic inheritance rights. The courts must now decide which laws apply and whether Hallyday was a resident of France or the United States.

In his will, Hallyday left all his assets to his fourth wife and their two school-aged daughters. The inheritance dispute was a result of his two oldest children, who reside in France, being left out of the will. They asked a French court to temporarily freeze several of the Hallyday’s French estates.

The French court granted the request put forth by the oldest children. However, the court refused to allow the oldest children to participate in preparing Hallyday’s posthumous album. The judge ruled in favor of the widow and the younger children.

Wills and revocable trusts are important and necessary for both celebrities and the average person alike. In celebrity cases, inheritance disputes are often in the public spotlight as they receive considerable media attention. As a result, they offer a cautionary tale about the difficulties family members face when a loved one fails to draft a clear, legally sound will before their death.

A properly drafted trust will keep a family’s affairs private, with no court involvement unless a dispute arises. Individuals with assets in other countries must plan ahead and get advice on how to compose will that will obey the laws of each country.

Working with an experienced attorney to craft an effective will and trusts helps avoid problems in the future for loved ones when you are no longer around. It provides details about exactly how you would like your assets to be distributed. In the absence of a will, the state is left to decide using a formulaic approach, which may lead to unnecessary emotional distress for family members.

The link between caregivers and immigration policies

Pew Research Center estimates about 10,000 individuals are turning 65 each day. As the elderly population steadily grows, so does the need for long-term care and caregivers. However, there are concerns that there will not be enough direct care workers to meet the growing demand.

Long-term care has inadvertently found itself linked to the nation’s current immigration debate. Changes in immigration laws have the potential to affect older Americans and patients with illnesses or disabilities who rely on consistent care.

According to the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), one out of four caregivers are immigrants. Around 34,600 individuals from Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras work as home health aides, nursing assistants or in other caregiving jobs. They must either leave the United States or face deportation before their Temporary Protected Status becomes invalid at some point in the coming two years.

In an industry that is already struggling with a worker shortage, the worry is that tens of thousands of people could be left without care if immigrant caregivers are compelled to leave the country. Paul Osterman, a human resources professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, predicts there will be a shortage of 151,000 direct caregivers by 2030. That number is likely to rise if immigrant workers lose work permits or other industries entice direct care workers with higher wages.

“It’s impossible to imagine that the long-term care sector would survive without immigrants,” said PHI Vice President of Policy Robert Espinoza. “If you make it more difficult for people who are already documented to remain in the country, what you’re doing is you’re making it more difficult for families to find workers to care for their loved ones.”

Inevitably, a shortage of caregivers will cause the cost of care to increase. This will put even more financial pressure on individuals with the most challenging care needs.

Report warns of rising Alzheimer’s costs and their impact on families

The rising number of Alzheimer’s cases and their accompanying costs are taking a toll on caregivers and society at large. A new Alzheimer’s Association report published last March makes some worrying projections about the cost of the disease.

The population of elderly Americans with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase 29 percent from the current 5.5 million to 7.1 million by 2025. Without any headway on effective treatments by then, the number will likely skyrocket to 13.8 million people in 2050.

The report’s authors pointed out that family caregivers shoulder most of the responsibility when it comes to looking after Alzheimer’s patients. As a result, there is likely to be negative impact on their emotional, physical and financial wellbeing, the Alzheimer’s Association said in a statement.

Last year over 16 million people spent 18.4 billion hours providing unpaid care to Alzheimer’s patients. Families assume 70 percent of the lifetime cost of their care, which totaled $329,360 per patient in 2017.

The report warned of the “growing cost and impact of Alzheimer’s on the nation’s health care system.” Its authors emphasized that society would benefit greatly from the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease as it would reduce long-term care costs.

The caregiving expenses for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are estimated to be $277 billion this year, not including unpaid caregiving. The amount includes Medicaid and Medicare, along with out-of-pocket expenses mostly for nursing homes and private insurance.

“The need for reliable and creative approaches to pay for the devastating cost of home care and nursing home care is overwhelming,” said Michael Gilfix. Mr. Gilfix is an attorney and entrepreneur who has helped hundreds of families obtain quality care — without the loss of the family home and without financial destruction.

Long Term and Asset Protection Planning

This presentation by attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gerson Gilfix will address:

  • Simplification of your Revocable Trust to massively save on taxes;
  • Passing assets to your children and grandchildren in ways that protect them from divorce, litigation, and estate taxes;
  • How to protect your residence and other assets – and save your family $100s of thousands - while qualifying for Medi-Cal to pay the cost of skilled nursing care;
  • Estate and gift taxes;
  • The pros and cons of reverse mortgages;
  • Long-term care insurance and planning for long term care; and
  • The value and importance of involving your children in the planning process.

Trump Tax Reform and Your Tax and Estate Planning Seminar

Uncertain about what the new tax law means for you and your family? Wondering how to proceed with your estate planning in light of President Trump’s tax reform? Gilfix and La Poll Associates is here to help.

Attorneys Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix will be leading a free seminar, which they will discuss the implications of the new tax law and provide practical tips. The seminar will present a wealth of valuable information that will allow you to take charge, plan and capture benefits. Michael Gilfix and Mark R. Gilfix will talk about both irrevocable trusts and revocable trusts, estate tax, as well as income tax punishments and opportunities. They will also cover what the new tax law means for real estate, and buying or selling a home.

The seminar will offer guidance on new income tax credits for caregivers and the planning implications for the cost of long-term care. It will also answer questions like should you move your assets to Nevada? Will a “pass through” entity save you a small fortune in income tax? Gilfix and La Poll aims to address all your concerns and ensure the tax reform plan does not leave you feeling helpless.

San Francisco launches new conservatorship measures to help patients with mental illness

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell recently announced the addition of more conservatorship beds to help individuals who suffer from serious mental illnesses. He said with more than double the number of beds, there will be “real results” for ill patients.

The San Francisco Healing Center at St. Mary’s Medical Center received 54 new locked psychiatric beds. The beds are an effort to help people who are placed in conservatorship because they are unable to live independently due to their illnesses, but do not need constant hospital care. They provide an alternative to placing patients in out-of-county facilities, hospitals or jails.

State senators are also working on legislation to expand and strengthen California’s conservatorship laws. Conservatorships are currently limited to elderly individuals vulnerable to abuse as well as people with severe disabilities or cognitive limitations. The bill seeks to give counties more options to address homeless individuals who are trapped in a cycle of going in and out of jails, hospitals and other government services.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed also introduced a measure that decriminalizes mental health conservatorship. It puts the city attorney in charge of overseeing such cases instead of the district attorney.

Conservatorships may be needed in circumstances where a person is unable to make one’s own financial and health care decisions due to physical or mental incapacity. In California, a civil court judge establishes a conservatorship by appointing someone to make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual. While a conservatorship may be necessary in some cases, it can typically be avoided if the person has previously signed an Advance Health Care Directive or Durable Power of Attorney.

California may allow on-campus medical marijuana use for special needs students

Some children who have special needs depend on marijuana for medical treatment due to its purported therapeutic properties. Now, a California senator has introduced a bill that would allow local school boards to create policies that permit on-campus medical marijuana use for special needs students or those with serious disabilities.

Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who introduced the bill, said in a statement that the goal is to give “students access to the medicine they need so they have a better chance for success in the classroom and in the community.”

Under the measure, the child’s parent or guardian would be able to administer medical marijuana in various forms such as capsules, topical creams, tinctures or oils on school campuses that have the approval of the school district’s governing board. Currently, students from kindergarten through grade 12 must be off campus in order to have medical marijuana administered to them.

The legislation gives charter schools, county boards of education or governing boards of school districts the option to pass more permissive policies. Students seeking to use medical marijuana on campus would need to have a doctor’s recommendation.

As there are many different laws governing medical marijuana use, lawmakers are seeking to address any statutes that could potentially conflict with the measure. It appears the key force behind the legislation is ensuring the safety of special needs students. “We want to make sure that these children are able to take this medicinally recommended product in a safe environment rather than out on the street,” Hill said.

California faces growing concerns and lawsuits over nursing home evictions

California has been at the center of a renewed focus on patient dumping and unlawful nursing home evictions. Local and federal regulators are looking to enhance the enforcement of laws that protect nursing home residents.

A lawsuit was recently filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court against SavaSeniorCare, a national nursing home chain. Six of its California facilities were accused of illegally evicting nursing home residents. They allegedly refused to provide patients with advance written notices of discharge or inform them of their right to appeal the discharge.

The lawsuit claimed SavaSeniorCare favored profit over following longstanding rules designed to protect residents. Last year, the AARP Foundation filed a similar lawsuit against a Sacramento provider.

Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide 30 days’ notice before discharging a patient involuntarily. They must also notify the appropriate parties, give a specific reason for the eviction and offer the resident a chance to contest the decision. In addition, the nursing home is required to help arrange the individual’s transfer to their home or another long-term care facility.

Evictions have to meet a limited set of criteria in order to be justified. For example, a patient may be discharged because of their failure to pay, the facility’s closure or inability to meet the resident’s needs, or because the resident poses a risk to others’ safety. Many nursing homes misinterpret the reasons and engage in patient dumping for monetary gains.

Legislation that aims to deter the practice of patient dumping has been introduced in the California State Senate. The measure would ensure nursing homes discharge patients to their specified place of residence or to another licensed facility.

Unfortunately, far too many residents nationwide are unaware of their rights and are evicted without an appeal. As a result, they end up without permanent housing or the routine medical care they need upon discharge.