Careful Giving: Suggestions for Passing Gifts to Care Providers

Careful Giving: Suggestions for Passing Gifts to Care Providers

According to the Orange County Register, a 91-year-old woman from Brea died in mid-2014, and left her entire estate to her caregiver. After officials discovered the transfer, they removed her assistant as trustee and took away the home she left  him.

Why? According to the District Attorney and the ruling Judge, the facts of the case demonstrated “Fraud and Undue Influence” by the caregiver.

A caregiver has worked for you in your later years; How can you to safely include this person in your will or your trust? Can you avoid the accusations that destroyed this 91-year-old’s wishes?
To avoid the Brea woman’s result, consider a few specific rules from both the Probate Code and from common sense experience to show that the senior receiving the health care –the employer- has not been unduly influenced to name the care provider as an estate beneficiary. Probate law in California reflects years of problems with caretakers of the elderly. Following these rules may help to avoid both the appearance of – and actual—undue influence by the targets of the law.

Statutory Guidelines

First, the statutes provide that a senior changing her planning documents to benefit a caregiver should not act either 90 days before or 90 days after the provider comes to work for her. That makes sense: nobody gives her estate to a person she just met three months ago unless she had somehow been “hypnotized” by being with the caregiver 24 hours a day. The senior in this situation should see an attorney and wait for the time to pass; don’t present the image of being hustled by a new health care giver.

Second, make sure your lawyer introduces you to an attorney who is not a part of her firm to interview you and complete the form provided in the Probate Code. Keep this Independent Review with the documents you receive.

Practical Guidelines

In the common sense area, don’t take the health provider to see the lawyer, and don’t let your health provider be your trustee; get someone else. If you don’t have a family member or friend for the job, find a Private Fiduciary to take you to the lawyer and serve as your Trustee/Executor/Agent. Otherwise, it looks like you’ve been steam-rolled, and it makes the government nervous.

Likewise, don’t discuss your plan with your caregiver, ever. This is something which leads to problems. Keep the process to yourself; don’t let him or her see the documents when they are done. Instead, spend time with outside persons other than your provider. Remember that the image of the isolated senior is what the courts and the agencies are looking for when they examine these cases for people who may have been victimized. 

Further, ask your lawyer about a “life estate” instead of making an outright transfer to the caregiver. This helps the provider during his or her life, and then delivers the asset to your friends, family or a charity following the caregiver’s death. Name a third party (not the provider) as the trustee (perhaps a private fiduciary) instead of the caregiver. This level of control on your part is not consistent with “undue influence,” and should calm the courts and placate the prosecutors.

At the same time, don’t name the provider as the sole beneficiary, or even the largest beneficiary. It just looks too suspicious. Name family, a Church, a School or a Hospital as beneficiaries along with the provider.

Remember, there are both good and bad people in every profession. The Probate Code is not there to punish the elderly, it exists to protect us. If there is a caregiver who objects to any of the suggestions above, it may be time to search for a new health care provider: this one may only be looking after his or her own well being, not for yours.

Donald A. Hunsberger

Hunsberger Law is a full-service estate and busi- ness planning legal firm, with estate planning attorneys and a licensed, professional fiduciary on staff. Connect with Don Hunsberger by calling (714) 663-8000 or visiting www. hunsbergerlaw.com

Latest News

Cultivated Elegance in Carmel Valley

Travel Jody Robinson

Cultivated Elegance  in Carmel Valley

Relax, Reconnect and Retreat to the Bernardus Lodge & Spa Someone once told me that Carmel was about the “...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shahin Novrasli Kenny Barron Quintet • Kurt Elling Christmas Branford Marsalis Quartet ...

The Story of Modern Dance Revolutionary Isadora Duncan

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

The Story of Modern Dance Revolutionary  Isadora Duncan

Four performances only August 10 – 12, 2018 • Segerstrom Hall Segerstrom Center for the Arts is proud to prese...

A Walk on San Diego's Wild Side

Entertainment Jody Robinson

A Walk on  San Diego's Wild Side

There is no question that San Diego’s Wild Animal Park has taken the concept of safari to the next level. A con...

Pets of the Month

Home Life Jody Robinson

Pets of the Month

Vera is a six year old sweetie with a great personality.  She absolutely loves to be petted and will fol...

Paradise Found. Paradise Automotive Service

Business Showcase Jody Robinson

Paradise Found.   Paradise Automotive Service

As a female, I may be feeding the stereotype when I pen this, but my first thought when I have to take my car...

Stepping into Music History: Nashville, TN

Travel Jody Robinson

Stepping into Music History:  Nashville, TN

It would be difficult to put Nashville on the list of must see places if you didn’t have some kind of appreciat...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Movie Mondays. Line-Up FREE

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom  Center for the Arts   Movie Mondays. Line-Up FREE

Summer Film Series Features: Back to the Future July 9 The Princess Bride July 16 Moonrise Kingdom July 23 T...

What’s in a (Girl’s) Name?

Entertainment Joe D

What’s in a (Girl’s) Name?

What is in a name? Everything, at least in the 1950’s and early 60’s! Our name branded us. Whether it was a nic...

Seaside Dining at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel: enoSTEAK & 180blu

Dining Out Jody Robinson

Seaside Dining at the Ritz-Carlton,  Laguna Niguel: enoSTEAK & 180blu

In the past decade, public attention has shifted to focus on the matter of how we obtain our food, and what exa...

Beacon Carpet Cleaning. Lighting the Way to a Cleaner Space

Business Showcase Sorbet Mag

Beacon Carpet Cleaning. Lighting the Way to a Cleaner Space

When I was a child, I remember my parents moving our family into a new house, with pristine, white carpets. Bea...

Brio Tuscany Grille

Dining Out Sorbet Mag

Brio Tuscany Grille

Winner of the Dana Point Times 2017 “Best of Dana Point” People’s Choice Award for “Best Happy Hour” and “Bes...

Expanding Your Practice at Spa Montage

Health & Wellness Jody Robinson

Expanding Your Practice at Spa Montage

I giggled my way through my first yoga class. I took one in college, alongside two of my girlfriends, and we ju...

Yanni Celebrates 25th Anniversary of His Iconic “Live at the Acropolis” Concert Segerstrom Center…

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Yanni Celebrates  25th Anniversary  of His Iconic “Live at the Acropolis” Concert  Segerstrom Center for the Arts  June 10, 2018

Legendary performer and composer Yanni will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of “Live At The Acropolis” with a wo...

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Segerstrom Center for the Arts Announces 2018 – 2019 Jazz Series

Ahmad Jamal Quartet and Shahin Novrasli Kenny Barron Quintet • Kurt Elling Christmas Branford Marsalis Quartet ...

Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa Returns to Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Ina Garten  Barefoot Contessa Returns to  Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Ina Garten, the American culinary icon, author of 10 New York Times b...

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Health & Wellness Robert G. Pugach

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH), is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and not canc...

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Health & Wellness Robert G. Pugach

Is Your Enlarged Prostate Interfering with Your Quality of Life?

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, (BPH), is a condition in men in which the prostate gland is enlarged and not canc...

Pageant of the Masters “Under the Sun”

Entertainment Sorbet Mag

Pageant of the Masters “Under the Sun”

July 7 – September 1, 2018Shows Nightly at 8:30pm The Pageant of the Masters is arguably one of the most uniqu...

Luxury for Every Age at the Grand Velas Los Cabos

Travel Jody Robinson

Luxury for Every Age  at the Grand Velas  Los Cabos

When I was 24 and planning a trip with a girlfriend to Cabo San Lucas, our families thought the idea sounded, w...

Prev Next