Vanessa Terzian

Estate Planning Attorney

About Vanessa Terzian

An adjunct professor of Wills and Trusts at Southwestern Law School and recently named a top attorney of 2014 in Pasadena Magazine and a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, Vanessa Terzian began her legal career as a Trust Administrator for Wells Fargo, N.A. Her experience at Wells Fargo, working closely with clients, portfolio managers, beneficiaries and other attorneys, shed light on how a poor estate plan can ruin a family’s fortune and more importantly, their relationships.

After witnessing first hand the importance of proper planning, Vanessa has pursued her own practice, helping countless families through her expertise in estate and tax planning, asset protection, elder law, kids protection planning, probate and trust administration. What sets Vanessa apart is her understanding of the needs of growing families, her ability to relate to working parents who desire a better life for their families and her know-how to implement strategic estate planning tools in the most cost efficient and seamless manner. Vanessa also draws on her real estate and business background in crafting comprehensive plans for her clients.

Vanessa is a skilled public speaker, having conducted countless seminars throughout her legal career on various topics of estate planning, including kids protection planning, special needs planning, Medi-Cal planning, advanced tax planning and asset protection for individuals and small businesses.

Vanessa is an active member of the La Canada Flintridge community, where she resides with her husband and business partner, Edward Terzian, and their two sons, Alec and Jack. She is a board member of the Northridge Hospital Foundation and participates in a number of charitable based organizations. Vanessa has successfully raised thousands of dollars for a variety of charities through fundraising campaigns which include frequent community-based public speaking events, charitable dinners and personal contributions. She believes that the foundation to a successful family unit is care, love and selflessness and stresses the importance of providing your community with these same tenants that are so essential to your own family’s success.

Ms. Terzian earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California San Diego, where she graduated magna cum laude and was a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. She completed her honors thesis in political science and received Provosts Honors for four consecutive years.

After graduating from UCSD, Vanessa attended Loyola Law School, where she was awarded the Dean’s Full Tuition Academic Scholarship. Vanessa was also on the Dean’s Honors List throughout her tenure at Loyola. During law school, Vanessa helped contribute to a published law article and clerked for the City Attorney, Civil Litigation Division, giving her invaluable experience in the legal process and an understanding of the pitfalls to avoid in drafting legal documents.

Ms. Terzian is a member of the Family Wealth Planning Institute and is a Personal Family Lawyer®. As a family woman, Vanessa understands the importance of protecting your assets, planning for your family’s future and building your own legacy. She takes pride in providing her clients with the sense of comfort and security that comes along with having an effective and comprehensive estate plan in place.

Answers  (19)

It is never too early to proactively talk about estate planning. I have family meetings with my clients and their children while my clients are in their 50s, so they are young and healthy still. It is always hard to talk about these things when we are in a crisis mode and stress levels as high. If... more

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If you are the agent under the Advance Health Care Directive, you have the ability to make decisions regarding her Heath Care, but if she flat out refuses to work with you on this, it is a difficult situaton. Have you thought of hiring a geriatric care manager to come up with a care plan? Maybe your... more

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Your dad would need to sign a new power of attorney (POA) to transfer the authority to you (or back to you) and revoke the prior POA(s). It sounds like, however, he may be suseptiable to undue influence. So possibly his girlfriend could get him to sign another POA again and it becomes difficult to... more

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Medicare is a federal insurance program paid out of Social Security deductions. All persons 65 or older who have made Social Security contributions are entitled to the benefits, as well as persons under 65 with disabilities who have been eligible for Social Security disability benefits for... more

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

If you have any clear evidence of elder financial abuse by someone, you should report it to adult protective services and the police. However, it sounds like you are just noticing some irregular charges. It also sounds like you have tried to speak with your mom about this. You might want to bring up... more

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From a legal stand point there a some key documents your grandfather should consider putting in place:A medical power of attorney, which nominates someone to make medical decisions;A financial power of attorney, which appoints an agent to make medical decisions; and Determine whether, depending on... more

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Typically Medicaid rules, which vary state to state, allow the well spouse to maintain an amount of what would otherwise be available assets for qualification purposes at the time you apply for Medicaid. Assets acquired after the spouse is institutionalized are not protected and will be counted at... more

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This is a great opportunity to be proactive. There are a couple essential documents to start with. The first two deal with incapacity: the power of attorney and advance health care directive. Each nominates a person or persons to handle your parents' financial and medical decisions during periods on... more

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This would be a great idea! I find it helpful when speaking to parents to let them know you've just gone through the same process. So if you have done a budget for yourself, show it to your dad. If you have not done a budget for yourself, your should! Also it is important to put together an asset... more

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

You'd want to consult with a CPA regarding this question, but generally speaking if the house is no longer in your name, you cannot deduct the expenses for tax purposes. There are certain exceptions, like gifting the house but maintaining an irrevocable life estate. 

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

I cannot comment about if there is a specific New York law, but I agree that this is a health issue. Here are a few things to consider:1. Does your husband have a valid Advance Healthcare Directive for his father? If so, review what sorts of powers that document gives him. 2. Consider speaking to... more

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

In California, you do not have to sell your home to qualify for Medicaid as long as you have an intent to return to the house. However, Medi-Cal (California's Medicaid program) can recover against your estate after you pass, including outing an estate claim against the equity in your home. You will... more

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

This is a very interesting question. You always want to review the contract you/your dad signs with the nursing home regarding collections and their policies to make sure you are clear on what they can or cannot do to collect outstanding bills. In my experience, the nursing home does not use peronal... more

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An Elder Care Attorney can guide families through this process. The process begins with a review of any Estate Planning Documents your grandfather may have (and if they don’t have any it is time to make sure they do). Estate planning documents would include Powers of attorney, medical directive, a... more

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.

As you know, Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services. Each state has different rules about... more

We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and...  (more)We at Care Giving Answers strive to provide helpful and relevant information to senior citizens and their families and loved ones. The material provided through our site is made available for informational purposes only. In no way should users of our site rely or act upon any information provided herein without seeking appropriate professional advice (medical, legal or financial). Users should independently verify the accuracy, completeness and relevance for their specific purposes. The information provided through our site is not intended to constitute professional advice and in no way forms or constitutes a professional-client relationship of any kind.