About Geisler Patterson Law

martha-patterson-kasem-cares-advisory-board-meeting
Martha at a KasemCares.org advisory board meeting

Martha Patterson is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation

State Bar of California License #108322
California Department of Insurance License #OK58144

“I help families plan for What If and have a book by that name.

What if your loved one has dementia, a stroke, or other disease and they need care? If you are facing that dilemma I will be your trusted guide.  I have the experience to help you, both personally and legally.  As part of an elite group of attorneys Certified as Elder Law Attorneys by the National Elder Law Foundation Martha Patterson is experienced in Wills, Trusts, Probate, Estate Planning, Trust law, Long Term Care Medi-Cal and Veteran’s Benefits.

Martha received attention and press as the attorney who helped Kerri Kasem (Casey Kasem’s daughter) with her legal battle to see her father in 2014.

 

Today, Martha serves on the board for the Kasem Cares Foundation which helps spread awareness for elder abuse and adult rights representation.

Martha is the sole reason I got to see my dad before he died. She was one of the lawyers responsible for overseeing the help with the Kasem children. Martha is a sought after expert in elder law and she really is the quiet giant! This woman really cares about the people she works with and is not in it just for the buck. – Kerri Kasem, Radio & TV personality

 

IN MY OWN WORDS:

kerri kasem press conference re elder abuse with elder law attorney martha patterson
Above: Martha with Kerri Kasem at the Los Angeles Press Conference discussing elder abuse

I learned early in life that life was full of challenges. My brother was killed in an auto accident when I was 15, and ten months later my father died of cancer.

I went to law school to follow in my father’s footsteps, believing that lawyers help people since our family had been helped by my dad’s lawyer friends when my brother and dad died.

I spent the first 10 years of my practice as a successful litigator, winning a number of cases.

I discovered the field of Elder Law. Elder Care Law is truly an area of law dedicated to helping the Elderly and Disabled as well as families who have special challenges.

national elder law foundation top attorneys los angeles california martha pattersonI wanted to be one of the best Elder Law Attorneys in the Country.   With that I put in lots of studying and time to garner experience and become Certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation.  (There are less than 40 lawyers in California with this designation.)

As an Elder Law Attorney I have had the privilege of helping hundreds of families. The stress families feel when they come into my office disappears as I patiently explain the solutions available and provide the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that my legal experience and education has enabled me to insure that assets are preserved and loved ones will receive the care they need.

Just a day in the life of my family

I have been the trusted guide as families have struggled with placing loved ones in Skilled Nursing Care, taken over the healthcare and financial decisions for loved ones who were no longer capable of taking care of themselves due to Dementia, Stroke or another disease that robs a person of their mental abilities, guided parents facing a terminal diagnosis in planning for an adult child who would need assistance for the rest of their lives, and helped many with Estate Plans that avoided taxes and fees at death while making sure that if my client did not die, but lived with dementia, disability or disease they would receive the best care possible while their assets would be protected so they would not go broke when they needed long term care.

I have been fortunate to be able to make sure that my mother could live at home despite needing care at 90, and have been able to use my knowledge to make sure that even though we had to go to Court to fix her Trust when it failed, I have been able to make sure she has the best care possible and that when she needs the assistance of the Government Benefits available to help people who need long term care she will be able to use these benefits without losing her assets.

When you call me or plan a visit in my office, you will find that I understand your stress and pain and that I have solutions to the challenges you face.  My Customized Legacy Protection Plans will provide you with the peace of mind of knowing that your assets will be preserved and that no matter what challenges your family faces I will be your personal legal advisor to make sure that the plans you make will be honored.

 

My Greatest Source Of Inspiration: My Parents

Joe-Geisler-as-a-Young-ManMy father, Joseph Brokaw Geisler, was City Attorney of Anaheim. He died of lung cancer when I was in high school, 10 months after we lost my dear brother in an auto accident.

I am the same age now that my father was when he died, and I doubt I will ever accomplish as much as he did in his short life. He served in World War II and earned two Navy Crosses, and the Distinguished Flying Star, for his bravery.

As City Attorney, he brought the Anaheim Stadium and the Anaheim Convention center to reality. He was known as a man who told you what you needed to know, not what you wanted to hear.

I still remember when he received death threats for allowing the Hells Angels to hold a funeral procession down the main street of Anaheim, and how he became friends with Dr. Wilkerson because he did not allow the Walt Disney Company to forbid the Melodyland Theater from becoming a church across the street from Disneyland park.

I hope I will always maintain my integrity as my father did; and that I will always tell my clients what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.

 

Hattie-as-a-Young-Woman

My mother recently passed away at age 90, and remains the most amazing woman I know.  At the end of her life, she wanted to stay in her home before we made the decision to move her to hospice care – a very difficult decision.

What I loved about my mother was after my father died, she was strong enough go to  back to work. She had the tenacity to learn how to operate the Mag Card II electronic typewriter, for at that time, it was a highly desired skill among employers.

She worked for the City of Anaheim, retired, and then worked for Poe’s Plumbing to complete her Social Security quarters. She has lived a frugal life and invested well thanks to her good friend Douglas Ogden. She has generously paid for my children to attend private Christian Schools.

I was able to make sure that my mother had a Living Trust that protected her while she was alive, and which protected her child and grandchildren after she passed. She was wise enough to purchase Long Term Care Insurance through PERS when the City of Anaheim offered it.  With her health failing at the end of her life, we were glad that she had this helpful resource so she could stay at home as long as possible.

 

Lessons Learned From A Failed Trust

For several years, my husband, together with his brother and sister-in-law, had discussed their concern about my mother-in-law. She did not seem to be doing well. She was forgetting things, yet she denied that her memory was failing. My dear father-in-law did everything he could to protect her dignity and cover for the memory loss, so we did not know how bad things were until my father in-law fell and broke his hip.

Like many people with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, the severity of the memory loss is not apparent until some part of the fragile structure that enables them to function falls apart. My father-in-law’s injury was such an event. It became immediately apparent that my mother-in law could not be left alone, could not pay the bills and could not care for her very modest estate.

At the time, my in-laws knew I was extremely busy with my career and my children. They did not want to burden me further, and as they were out of town, had their Living Trust created by another attorney. Eventually, the family needed to review this trust. I became involved, but nobody could find the original, or even a copy. Finally, we found a business card, and I contacted their Estate Attorney.

He provided me with copies, for a charge of $230.00. Part of my inspiration for creating my Trust Loving Care (TLC) maintenance program is based on the trauma we all suffered when we did not know who did the Trust and where it was, as well as our resentment about having to pay for the copies.

 

“With Martha’s patience, guidance and understanding we made it through the most difficult times. Only wish we had found her sooner! She is the complete package for Legal Elder Care and will give you everything you need to make the right decisions. One tough lady, so glad she was in our corner.” – N. Vavra

All of my clients are offered the opportunity each year to invite their Trustees to meet with me, and when they join the TLC program, their family is never charged for a copy of the Trust, or the call to me when their loved one passes away-and they, like my husband and brother, need to know what to do.

I wish I could say that the stress associated with this event ended with finding the attorney and getting a copy of the Trust. It did not. The Trust itself failed. Why? The Trust was ten years old, and the successor Trustee was my father-in-law’s best friend, who at 82 was just not able to do the job. My mother in-law could not change the Trust since it was obvious she lacked the capacity to make legal decisions.

Kasem-Family-and-Legal-TeamYet, she believed that she was fine and did not want to see a doctor about her condition. We spoke to her primary care physician, who was more than willing to verify that she lacked capacity, but HIPAA prevented him from talking to another doctor, and like ALMOST EVERY TRUST NOT DRAFTED BY AN ELDER LAW ATTORNEY, this trust required two doctors to sign that she did not have capacity. So, despite the fact that it was obvious, we could not do anything unless we could get her to a doctor, and you cannot legally make someone go to a doctor.

We ended up having to obtain a Conservatorship of her person, and moved her to a Secured Memory Facility. When my father-in law passed away, and the Power of Attorney my brother-in law used to pay bills was no longer valid, the Trust failed again. Why? The bank had misinformed us, and their CD was not in the Trust, so we now are required to account for her money in Conservatorship Probate Court. 

All of this could have been avoided.

Having seen firsthand the catastrophic results of inadequate planning, I am fully committed to making sure that my clients, and their families, will not have to go through what my family and I did.

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To get answers for your own personal situation, please contact me today for a free initial consultation.

 

Available Now on Amazon

The Nursing Home Dilemma: A Consumer’s Guide to Protecting Your Loved Ones While Preserving Your Assets

By Martha Patterson

A practical guide to help families facing the fact that a loved one needs full time care. The book discusses the information families need to know when facing the dilemma of whether or not a loved one needs a Nursing Home. The book explains the options available explaining how to pay for care without going broke in a Nursing

 

 

 

Our Northridge law firm specializes in veteran’s benefits, probate, & disability planning.

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