Content in publication educates seniors about estate planning


By Staff Report

James Ward

A free publication called Elder Care was recently released by local attorney James Ward to help seniors better understand the various components of estate planning as well as Medi-Cal eligibility for nursing home coverage and asset protection.

Ward, who regularly contributes the “Your Estate” column in Morgan Hill Life, came up with the idea for the magazine-format publication to clarify estate planning in an easy-to-read, and fun-to-read style of writing. It is 94 pages and contains brief articles printed in large type size so seniors don’t have to strain their eyes reading the material. The publication includes plenty of stories sharing the experiences of real people who made expensive mistakes in estate planning, one as much as $1 million for nursing home costs, because they didn’t understand eligibility laws in California.

“There’s a lot of false information out there, or there’s a lot of information that people tell you is correct in 49 states, but it isn’t correct for California,” Ward said. “I’ve from time to time come across things that other people have written and they either didn’t apply to California or it was written at such a high legal level that normal clients couldn’t understand it. I thought: we need to write something that tells people how (estate planning) works and what to do.”

Because elder law can often be a complex topic, many people are perplexed by the process of planning for their senior years. A common mistake is the confusion of a trust with a will. The publication Elder Focus explains the topic in a simple language for people not familiar with legal terms.

“A lot of people are confused. They think Medicare is going to pay for nursing homes. They don’t realize it doesn’t,” Ward said. “Or they end up spending $300,000 or $400,000 because they’ve been told their mother doesn’t qualify because she owns a house, which is not true at all.”

Copies can be found throughout South Valley at the senior centers, nursing homes and assisted living centers. They can also be picked up at James Ward’s offices. (Call 1 800-546-9273 to find an office nearest you.)

The publication can also be viewed online at www.californiaelderlaw.com or www.wardesq.com.

Robert Airoldi