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Even though Mr. Ask was a practicing attorney at the time, he had no idea that the issues that his wife was dealing with, on behalf of her ailing mother, could be resolved, A through E, by an Elder Law attorney. The discharge nurse was unable to provide him with any information, whatsoever, that might have helped him with some guidance, other than to provide him with the names of some skilled nursing facilities. Nothing in the yellow pages nor information provided by the Department of Social Services provided as much as a clue as to where the funds might come from to provide the services that his wife’s mother needed.
In a nutshell, no one within the realm of Mr. Ask’s knowledge could provide any answers. To cut to the chase, his wife’s mother passed-away soon thereafter, and the issues, A through E, were never addressed.
One other issue (for the sake of clarity let’s call that issue “f”) was never raised at the time of this health crisis having to do with Mrs. Ask’s mother. That would have been the issue of what happens to the patient’s home when Medi-Cal benefits are paid out on her behalf. The reason, of course, that this issue wasn’t even raised, is because the issue of Medi-Cal benefits wasn’t ever raised, at that time.
At that point, Mr. Ask knew that no one should ever have to experience a similar crisis, without someone being available to help deal with those seemingly insurmountable issues.
So, he committed himself to become re-educated and to become an advocate for elderly persons and their families.
The field of Elder Law at that time was about a year old, a fledging enterprise, and a well kept secret.
In today’s world, the issue of protecting the home from a Medi-Cal claim probably becomes the most important issue on the minds of the elderly person’s family. State Law and Federal Law dictate that the Department of Health Services in Sacramento (State of California) must put a claim for recovery against the family residence once the patient has passed away, or in the event that the patient is married, when the patient’s spouse has also passed on. That issue, then, becomes the most important concern that the Elder Law Attorney must address, in situations such as described above.
Mr. Ask subsequently participated in an estate planning seminar, and made the acquaintanceship of one of the instructors, an attorney who ultimately invited Mr. Ask to a meeting of the Southern California Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.
Mr. Ask then became a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, and by participating in the ongoing educational programs of both organizations, he has built an Elder Law Practice that reaches throughout Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.
Some Elder Law Attorneys prefer to limit their work to estate planning and public benefit planning (translation – Medi-cal work), that is performed in their office.
Mr. Ask performs substantial services in the areas of conservatorship and probate law which places him in the courtroom frequently. As a consequence, his experience in the courtroom becomes a very beneficial component in his estate planning (Medi-cal) practice. There’s no substitute for the experience gained in a courtroom.
Mr. Ask employs two long time paralegals. One of them has been with him since 1988, and both have had extensive training and education. Both are third year law students, and both are certified paralegals.
Ronald W. Ask passed the State of California Bar Exam in 1982, after graduating from Western State University of Law in Fullerton. He is a graduate of California State University Long Beach, and Long Beach Community College.
Mr. Ask served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corp Reserve from 1954 to 1956.
Mr. Ask opened his first law office as a general practitioner in Ontario, California in 1982. He moved his practice to the Riverside, California area in 1983, where he has lived with his family since 1962.
In 1987, Mr. Ask experienced an epiphany, when he learned that his 78 year old mother-in-law, living independently at that time, was found collapsed and helpless on her kitchen floor.
A few days later he and his wife were informed by a discharge nurse at Parkview Hospital in Riverside that:
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