The Problems That You Are Likely to Have If You Do Not Have an Estate Plan in Place

Published : Monday, December 23, 2019 | 12:02 PM

How often can it be said that attorneys truly get real satisfaction from their jobs? Many attorneys engage in fields which require that they be in constant dispute and contention with opposing attorneys and sometimes with their own clients.

However, to hear William Hayes of the Hayes Law Firm tell it, he constantly receives satisfaction from doing the work that he does. Known to his clients as, “Bill”, his estate and elder law practice focuses on trusts, probate, and helping people to qualify for Medi-Cal if they are being overwhelmed by medical bills. The Hayes Law Firm helps their clients plan their estates to protect themselves and their families while they are living, as well as leaving a legacy for their loved ones when they ultimately die. Bill says that his law practice allows him to gain instant gratification by knowing that he has helped people through difficult times.

“I enjoy what I do,” Attorney Hayes said. “I get to work with positive people who have worked hard to create something good in their lives, and I get to be the solution that helps them preserve it. I like that.”

Attorney Hayes began his law career as an entertainment attorney for Universal Studios where he wrote contracts for many creative people, including the writer of the screenplay for the film Jaws. Later during his entertainment law career, he worked for Motown Records as well as for an entertainment law firm which represented an array of musical artists from Linda Ronstadt and Alice Cooper to Barry White and The Jazz Crusaders.

The law firm for which Bill worked also represented artists in the film and television industry. One such artist was the winner of the Academy award for best actress, Susan Hayward. When Ms. Hayward died, Bill was requested to handle the probate of her estate. “Though I had never handled a probate or any other estate matter in my life, I went from entertainment to handling probate, and I found that I really liked it. Working with Ms. Hayward’s family gave me a satisfaction that I had never received while working in the entertainment industry. After handling that probate, whenever any matters came up regarding estate or trust law, I was always ready to become involved.” Thereafter Bill handled the trusts for many prominent music, television and film industry people.

When Bill went into private practice for himself, probate and trust matters became a significant part of his practice and slowly his practice evolved to the point where he began to specialize in trust and probate matters. However over the years of doing trust and estate work, it became apparent to Bill that after having created the trusts for his clients, as they aged, many of them began to encounter medical problems and those medical bills began to slowly eat away at the estates that the clients had created. Though the clients had health insurance, it became clear that not many of them had long-term care insurance.

Your health insurance does not pay for long-term care health problems and in most instances that burden is left to the client to privately pay out of their own pockets. The US Health and Human Services Department says that 7 out of 10 adults over the age of 65 will wind up having long-term care health problems, and 40% of that number will wind up having to stay in a nursing home. Attorney Hayes came to the realization that the potential loss of a client’s estate to health expenses must be factored into the planning, otherwise the planning is incomplete. “If you haven’t considered long term care medical expenses into your planning, then you really haven’t planned at all.”

In most instances Medicare will only pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing care before the financial burden is shifted back to the person receiving the healthcare. Approximately 66% of all bankruptcies in the United States derive from medical bills. Though people often prepare estate plans, they do not prepare a plan of action to deal with how they will preserve their estates if they should encounter overwhelming long-term care health problems and medical expenses.

Once he became aware of how vulnerable his clients were to these healthcare expenses, attorney Hayes started to research the field of elder law and realized the majority of estates planning attorneys do not practice in this field. Elder law primarily deals with ensuring your estate is protected should medical bills become a burden, and you don’t have long-term care insurance. Essentially, how to ensure that there is something left at the end of the day after creating the estate plan.

A properly drawn plan would allow the client to preserve their assets and still receive the long-term healthcare they need without having to pay for it themselves. “I have witnessed the tragedy of people trying to pay for long-term care expenses out of their personal funds as they slowly realize that they are sinking into bankruptcy. Oftentimes it is at that point that they, their children, or friends contact our office so that we can create a plan to preserve what’s left of their estate. Of course, the better plan would have been to come to our office as soon as they became aware that they were having to personally pay for these long-term care expenses.”

Another field the Hayes Law firm focuses on is probate. Probate of course deals with what happens when one dies and they never took the time to prepare an estate plan. If you do not have a trust, your estate will wind up in probate court where it will be significantly reduced as a result of legal fees and costs. “The only people whose estates wind up in probate court, are people who fail to plan. The only people who wind up happy as a result of that failure to plan are probate attorneys. Probate attorneys are paid a percentage of the gross value of the estates while the heirs only receive the net”.

There comes a time in life, when people should start to think about how they want their assets to be managed as they grow older, and create a plan that will provide protection for their family and a legacy for what they have accomplished in their lives. Proper planning will help to make sure that one’s affairs are in order, and will prevent the loss of what you have spent your lifetime creating should you encounter overwhelming medical bills as you grow older.

The Hayes Law Firm is dedicated to the mission of educating people regarding the benefits of planning, and the harm that occurs when they don’t. Additionally, the Hayes Law firm makes it a point to be supportive of the local community. Recently they sponsored the South Pasadena Farmers Market reusable grocery bag program, known as the ‘Give One, Take One’ program. The objective the program is to reduce the number of single-use plastic bags being used by consumers in the community. “There is great satisfaction to be had in helping the local community and the environment”.

Free seminars are presented by the firm in many different venues for the public, and for a variety of organizations such as insurance companies, financial advisors, banks, churches, businesses, and nonprofit organizations. Recently the firm conducted a presentation for the Pasadena Humane Society, “Your Pet, Your Trust, and Your Legacy Estate Planning 101”, which was quite well received and the firm has been requested to return for two seminars in 2020 (April 8th and October 14th, 2020).

You may attend the upcoming seminars presented by The Hayes Law Firm by either contacting the firm at 626-403-2292 or you may register for the seminars on their website at www.Los (

Seminars will be offered in the month of January, 2020 at the following locations and times:

Saturday, January 18th @ 10AM – The Hayes Law Firm
Wednesday, January 22nd @ 6PM – Silverlake Library
Thursday, January 23rd @ 6PM – Echo Park Library
Saturday, January 25th @ 10 AM – Edendale Library
Saturday, February 8th @ 10 AM – The Hayes Law Firm

If you have a need for estate planning, probate, trust administration, or Medi-Cal planning, give The Hayes Law Firm a call at (626) 403-2292. William K. Hayes, Esq. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, which is recommended by Consumer Reports, Money Magazine, and Suze Orman as a top resource to find quality estate planning attorneys.






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