A lawyer explains the legal and financial aspects of retiring in California.
By far the country’s most populous state, California is also home to a burgeoning number of retirees. For them, this debut tome of nearly 700 pages is a veritable gold mine of information. Despite its extraordinary length, the book benefits from the straightforward, nonlegalese, easy-to-comprehend writing style of Weissler, an experienced elder law attorney. The author begins with a somewhat extraneous overview of growing old, addressing several of the more common illnesses and injuries that afflict the elderly. But he quickly gets down to business with three chapters that cover long-term care definitions, payment options, and an important section about insurance. A chapter about the much-misunderstood reverse mortgage is helpful, as is the substantial discussion of benefits available to veterans. Material concerning other retirement-related topics, such as Medicare, IRAs, 401(k)s, and trusts, is included. The primary strength of the volume, though, is its exhaustive coverage of Medi-Cal, the California version of Medicaid. Half of the thorough work’s 23 chapters concentrate on the mind-boggling details of Medi-Cal, which Weissler patiently and lucidly explains. Perhaps most significant is the author’s claim that “you do not have to be a pauper or spend down to broke in order to qualify for Medi-Cal.” In fact, Weissler offers specific strategies for asset protection and demonstrates with examples how the average retiree can legally shield assets to take maximum advantage of Medi-Cal. The book is impressive both in its breadth and depth, and the author’s “Takeaways” at the end of each chapter ensure that readers do not overlook key points. Weissler’s “bonus chapter” concerning medical decision planning is a sensible addition; it explains the use of such legal documents as an advanced health care directive and a durable power of attorney. The author prudently points out that the book is intended as a resource and should not be viewed as a replacement for an elder law attorney.
Comprehensive, all-encompassing, and authoritative; could easily act as the single source any Californian needs to help navigate the bewildering world of retirement and estate planning.