Viewpoint and Approach
For more than 40 years, CAROL A. PETERS, Esq. has represented diverse clients throughout Los Angeles and surrounding counties as an Attorney in civil matters.
For more than 11 years, before and during law school, CAROL PETERS worked for the County of Los Angeles in the public benefits administration system, for the Dept. of Public Social Services (DPSS). She understands the public policy issues underlying public benefits programs, including Medi-Cal, plus the rules governing eligibility and welfare determinations.
As an Elder Law Attorney, Ms. Peters includes a bioethics viewpoint in her service delivery.
ESTATE PLANNING is a pre-need planning process. In advance of need, the goal is to support the Client’s own plans for future CARE or CURE (which may differ). Sometimes, due to increased CARE needs, such planning considers transitions to medical or custodial care with step-down triggers.
Helpful is knowing the Care Plan goals in advance of need and case management. The financial planning and estate planning of drafting a Will, Trust, Advance Health Care Directive, Durable Power of Attorney can be done in advance so that all is already in place if/when future need(s) arise. When the Attorney serves as a Counselor-At-Law, the appropriate documents can support the Care Plan foreseen and desired by the Client.
Other times, the Client may have some capacity issues and need current assistance. A Petition can be filed with the Probate Court for appointment of a Conservator of Person and/or Estate, to have authority subject to Court supervision to oversee and pay for the Care Plan ~ to administer the financial affairs of the incapacitated person, and to report formally to the Court and third parties, all as required by law. When appropriate, the Conservator can file a Substituted Judgment Petition so that the estate-planning of a Trust can be approved by the Court to avoid the costs later of a probate matter.
ESTATE SETTLEMENT services pay the proper pre-death creditors and taxes and then make the ultimate distribution to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries.
As a CONSULTANT, Carol Peters works with other Attorneys regarding LTC Medi-Cal planning issues in their caseload. Sometimes this work is done as an in-house adviser to the other Attorney. Other times this work is done as the second attorney on the case, to address and resolve disputes presented by the parties’ issues, or when two attorneys are needed to represent two spouses with a Conflict Of Interest.
As a MEDIATOR, Carol Peters serves as a Neutral, working with the family (often with the referring Attorney present) to provide accurate and current information about public benefits eligibility issues and processes, so that all parties involved can make good decisions, design a Care Plan, and move forward in its implementation, to meet the Care Plan needs of the elderly or disabled family member.
Frequently when LTC Medi-Cal eligibility issues are explained and/or the rules are documented, clearly, the parties involved are then able to agree easily on a Care Plan, for the benefit of the patient. This resolution of EOL (End Of Life) care issues can often create family harmony.
As an EXPERT WITNESS about LTC Medi-Cal planning rules and requirements, Carol Peters supports the work of Litigation Attorneys, who must present an organized case to the Trial Court. Often a contested matter involves an elder (over 65 years) or a dependent adult (age 18-64 years) who has been the victim of financial elder abuse because a lack of understanding about LTC Medi-Cal or other public benefit rules. When the rules about the eligibility determinations for the period at issue are clearly stated to the Court as FACTS, then the Court has an evidentiary yardstick by which to measure compliance or deviation in the financial transactions.
Using a neutral communicator to serve as an Expert Witness about pre-need LTC Medi-Cal planning can be helpful to ALL parties, whether in Court, a Care Plan conference about bioethics issues or at a family meeting.
Each case differs because each family differs, and also each patient’s needs are different and unique.