Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Very helpful through the whole process.
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Knowledgeable and great service.
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
An office appointment was scheduled after attending one of their free and informative estate plannin...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Thank you all for making this very easy! This was exactly what I was hoping for, to make things easi...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Thank you for your help in setting up my trust. I have peace of mind now. Everyone was helpful & eff...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
I think the attorneys are very knowledgeable, they provide a good service, and the fee is fair, but ...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
The Pettis Webber team assisted us in getting our ducks in a row and establishing a trust. Their kn...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
The women at Pettis Weber took the time to really get to know us and our family in order to recommen...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Working with the Pettis Webber team was a very pleasant experience. They were very personal and pro...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
When my wife and I were thinking about redoing our wills, I saw an ad invitation to an informational...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Worth every penny, I feel well taken care of.
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Karen helped me work through my unusual circumstances offering solutions that met my needs. Wonderf...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
They were very thorough and efficient. All our questions were answered and we now feel confident tha...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Great at doing original documents and explaining what they do. Not so terrific at questions and foll...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Webber Pettis did a great job with both mine and our in laws estate planning. When that day comes, I...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
We worked with Karen Webber -- Karen walked us thru the set up of our revocable living trust. She w...
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Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
I got what I needed done and I'm Satisfied.
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
I found the service in devising my will, to be very thorough and competent
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Karen Webber and the staff were all so extremely helpful as they worked with me to protect my assets...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Very professional and helpful!! If they don't know an answer to a question I have they find someone ...
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Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
When we were ready to create a will and trust, they were able to answer our questions, guide us in m...
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Feedback -Our experience with PETTIS-WEBER, was smooth and reassuring. All questions we had were alw...
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Not as responsive getting back to the clients when I need to talk to my attorney. Otherwise all is ...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
I am completely satisfied with the estate planning documents you did for me. Your attention to detai...
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Very helpful and knowledgeable. With COVID they did the best they could. Karen was so patient and ki...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
PWPE & AP was instrumental in getting us up to date on our wills setting up a trust, and including o...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
I have always been treated with respect and staff is well informed of information I needed. Thank yo...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
You set up our trust in a hurry do to my upcoming surgery. Took the time to explain it and get what...
Pettis Webber Pacific P.S. Pettis Webber Pacific P.S.
Pettis Webber Pacific has provided myself and my family with a true sense of security. Their profes...
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VA Planning in Light of the New Rules

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides several types of services to our nation’s veterans, including, but not limited to, healthcare services, home loans, assistance with education and vocational rehab, pensions, life insurance, and burial/memorial benefits. Although the government has provided benefits to our veterans since the Revolutionary War, the VA did not come into formal existence until 1930.

One of the most important services the VA offers is pensions to veterans over the age of 65 who saw active duty during a wartime period. These pensions are also available to a veteran’s surviving spouse and certain children. They cover long term care costs, whether they are costs for care at home, in an assisted living facility, or at a nursing home. Veterans have always needed to meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for these pensions, but in 2015, the VA proposed new rules altering the process for qualifying for pension benefits. They proposed these changes to try to ensure that only those applicants who were truly needy would receive benefits. They were hoping to get Congress to act on the new rules, but when Congress failed to do so, the VA unilaterally implemented the new rules in late 2018.

One of the most significant changes is found in the way the VA will examine the assets of a veteran to determine his or her eligibility for benefits. Under the former system, the VA reviewed each case on an individual basis, looking at an applicant’s unique circumstances, and used a household income cap to determine eligibility; now, the VA determines eligibility based on an applicant’s net worth. Applicants are only eligible if the value of their assets—including their income—falls below a specific amount. For 2019, this amount is $123,600.

A related change to the rules involves the value of an applicant’s home. In the past, the VA excluded the value of an applicant’s home and land from consideration for eligibility, but under the new rules, the VA will exclude only the value of an applicant’s home and a two-acre parcel of land on which the home sits. For veterans who own less than two acres, this rule will have no impact on their eligibility, but for those veterans who own farms or other large parcels of land, it may automatically disqualify them from receiving benefits, as the value of their excess land is counted toward the asset limit amount. In addition, if an applicant sells their residence with the intent of downsizing in order to qualify for benefits, they will need to purchase their new home in the same calendar year. If they do not, the VA will count the proceeds from the sale of their home toward the asset limit amount. This means that if an applicant sells their home in December, they will have less than a month to purchase a new one.

The VA will now also impose a three-year look-back period when determining eligibility, similar to the way Medicaid looks back. Under the former rules, applicants could plan and structure their assets in favorable ways prior to applying for benefits, but under the new rules, certain transfers of assets within the three-year period, including the use of certain trusts or annuities and transfers for less than fair market value, could result in a penalty period of up to five years.

Finally, the VA has updated its definition of a deductible medical expense. In the area of custodial care, it has expanded its scope regarding assistance with the activities of daily living (ADL), as well as allowing those who receive custodial care to include the instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) as deductible expenses. In addition, it also considers room and board costs at care facilities to be deducted as medical expenses. This can make it easier for some applicants to meet the eligibility requirements.

The VA will not permit hardship exceptions to the asset limit amount, but it does allow for a 90 day cure period after a penalty has been imposed in which applicants can try to correct their financial ineligibility, though this can be challenging to do. The intricacies and complexity of these new rules make it more important than ever that applicants consult experienced professionals who can help guide them through this process. At Phelan Webber Pettis PS, we are here to help you with your estate planning needs.

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