"Our commitment does not end when you sign your legal documents. We offer ongoing services to you and your family to help you achieve your desires..."
~ Geraldine Champion
Can Your Real Estate Broker Do This For You?
As your real estate broker, we will do everything to sell you house at the best possible price. As your elder law attorney, we can give you legal advice to coordinate the sale, purchase or gift of your house with your:
Minimizing income and capital gains tax
Minimizing estate and gift tax
Trust or Will
Medi-Cal estate recovery claim
SSI, Medi-Cal, SSDI or other government benefits
Representation in court or administration hearing, if necessary
Finding appropriate housing in light of your changing needs as you age
Often an efficient transaction with a real estate broker/elder law attorney can result in reduced legal fees.
Why Should Your Real Estate Broker Also Be A Certified Elder Law Attorney?
Our office routinely witnesses all of the following examples, which exist in our current case files:
A real estate agent encouraged a client to sell her house while the "market is hot." The woman signed a listing agreement and made an offer on a new home. She was completely unaware that she would owe 24% of the sale proceeds, from the first home, in federal and state capital gains tax, if her house was sold within the next 60 days. Fortunately, this woman consulted our office before she accepted an offer on the first home. By obtaining the proper legal advice she was able to enjoy the tax-free sale of her home.
Clientís father passed away. Five days later, a real estate agent saw the clientís fatherís obituary in the newspaper. Next, the real estate agent apparently searched the public records for recorded deeds and noticed our office had prepared a deed during the estate planning process. The real estate agent called our office seeking our clientís address and telephone number. Nevertheless, rest assured that our office keeps all your personal information strictly confident.
A real estate agent offered to sell Momís house while Mom was living. Mom was in a nursing home and paying $4,000 per month. Mom had received Medi-Cal benefits for almost 8 years. The real estate agent sold Momís house, took the commission and distributed the proceeds to Mom. Mom was immediately disqualified from receiving Medi-Cal benefits until she "spent down" the $500,000 in proceeds to $2,000. As a result, Mom and her family were forced to incur legal expenses to preserve all the house proceeds plus re-qualify Mom for Medi-Cal benefits. Had the real estate agent been familiar with elder law, all of the proceeds and the Medi-Cal benefits would have been protected without interruption.
A real estate agent offered to sell Momís house after Mom had passed away and have the proceeds distributed to the beneficiaries. The real estate agent did not inquire into the health status of the beneficiaries. The real estate agent sold the house and had the funds distributed to all the beneficiaries. One beneficiary was an adult child with disabilities who was immediately disqualified from his government benefits of Medi-Cal and SSI. In an attempt to preserve benefits, the family quickly bought another house, having heard that the home was "exempt." Next, the family got a call from the Fraud Unit of the Social Security Administration requesting an immediate personal interview. Had the family sought legal advice before selling the house, the adult child would have maintained all public benefits and preserved his "inheritance" without court interruption.
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Geraldine E. Champion, Attorney at Law The Law Offices of Geraldine E. Champion 182 South 10th Street Grover Beach, CA 93433 Tel: (805) 473-4747
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This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting, or specific advice to your situation. This information does not establish an attorney-client relationship. All information is California specific. Facts and circumstances effect advice. Consult your own attorney.