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October 2018 Archives

VA outreach for underserved veterans

Veterans in California who were other-than-honorably discharged usually do not qualify for VA benefits. These veterans often need help for trauma related to their service, and suicide and substance abuse is common in this group. The VA has started a new program to allow these veterans to come to the VA for mental health care.

Reviewing trusts can keep them up to date

For many California families, trusts are an important tool to transfer wealth from one generation to another. They can be used to minimize the impact of probate, keep wealth transfers out of public view and even provide tax savings. However, it can be important for people with trusts to review them regularly to make sure that their documents and plans meet their current needs. In some cases, families are unhappy with the provisions of their trusts. However, by reviewing them in advance, individuals can make adjustments to improve their utility for their specific circumstances.

Estate planning and philanthropy

Even though philanthropy is frequently used as part of a tax-saving strategy, people in California can also benefit from the charitable giving in ways that are related to starting and maintaining a legacy, enjoying personal fulfillment and forming a connection with future generations. There are certain steps individuals should take to make sure that the philanthropic goals they have set for their lifetime and after they have died are fulfilled.

Cost-of-living increase for veterans' benefits

Veterans in California and across the country may be relieved to learn that their military retirement and disability benefits will see a 2.8 increase in December 2018. The cost-of-living increase is the largest boost veterans have seen to their pay in the past six years. The adjustment was announced by federal Social Security Administration officials in October 2018. This follows a 2 percent increase that came last year; in the prior three years, increases sat at only 2 percent when combined.

Receiving a Social Security claim denial letter

Many people in California rely on Social Security disability payments to cover their monthly expenses. It is common for applicants to receive a denial letter after their initial application. In fact, the majority of claims are denied at the initial application level.

Benefits help disabled veterans and their families

Veterans who are injured or otherwise disabled because of their time in the military may receive benefits to help pay for their care. Money might also be available to provide for the spouses, parents and children of those who were killed while in the military or while training to be in the military. Any benefits that a member of the military or their family member receives are tax-free to them.

How an RFC form can help with a disability claim

Social Security disability applicants typically wait until they are no longer capable of working before they seek benefits. However, this is irrelevant in the ultimate determination of whether they are deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration. For initial applications, a sequential process is conducted by a California or other local claims examiner as laid out in the SSA guidelines.

Estate planning doesn't have to result in family tension

Family members may not view a will the same way as the person who wrote it. For instance, a son or daughter may believe that a parent left more for his or her siblings than for that child. Family members may also have a lack of trust for the brother, sister or other relative named the executor of the estate. Fortunately, there are ways that California residents can avoid these and other issues.

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