Elder law, and benefit planning for seniors (Medi-Cal and VA planning specifically) is a unique area of law in that (1) the attorneys who practice this kind of law are very collegial and helpful to one another, and (2) they almost always have a personal reason they do the work that they do. Christina is no exception.
Christina grew up in Napa Valley as a quintessential Daddy’s Girl, deciding at around age 3 that she wanted to be an attorney just like her dad. It was irrelevant to her at the time that, at age 3, she didn’t know what a lawyer was or what they did. Her father, William H. McPherson (“Bill”), was a family law attorney in Solano County from 1952 – 2004, and received a special commendation for 50 years of service in the California Bar in 2003.
He also fought in WWII as a member of the 42nd Rainbow Division that liberated Dachau Concentration Camp. Christina and her dad were always close – in fact she was always close to both parents, so it was an exciting time in 2002 when she joined him in his law practice in Fairfield, California. It was a fantastic few years for both Christina and Bill to be able to work together as law partners. Practicing primarily family law together, things changed dramatically in 2005 after Bill had left the practice due to health reasons.
Christina’s mom, Kim, was Bill’s primary caregiver as he aged – by that time, he was 83. But when Kim got sick late in 2005, Christina found herself in dire circumstances. Kim was in & out of the hospital for about 9 weeks, leaving no one to care for Bill. Christina has siblings, but there was no one but her geographically close & able to help more than a few days. She made the decision to try to do it all – care for Bill, help with Kim’s care, and try to continue to run her law practice that she had formally taken over earlier in the year. For two months, she acted as Bill’s primary caregiver in Napa (he needed around the clock care), traveled to the hospital where Kim was being treated almost daily (either in San Francisco or Napa) and worked to keep her law firm afloat in Solano County – only occasionally making it home to feed her cats and grab a new change of clothing. She tried to find resources to help, but there didn’t seem to be any help, anywhere. It was a really difficult time that had lasting changes both on Christina’s life and career. Ultimately, Kim recovered and remains close with Christina (more of a best friend than mother!) but Bill passed away in mid-2006.
As a result of the experience, Christina incorporated estate planning into her law practice in 2005. But the changes didn’t stop there, so in 2007 she decided to take a break from law and pursue her MBA at Michigan State University. When she returned to California in 2009 to re-open her law practice, she had a whole different practice in mind. She focused almost primarily on estate planning (incorporating family law only after being asked for it repeatedly and adding a family law attorney associate in 2011 who practices only family law so Christina can focus on Elder Law & Estate Planning).
But there were more changes ahead, as in 2010 she realized that there was a large – and growing – underserved population of seniors and veterans who needed help with Medi-Cal and VA benefits. She started working with Medi-Cal planning in 2010 and incorporated VA benefit planning in 2011, becoming a VA-Accredited Attorney in 2012. She is committed to helping families in situations she found herself in – with an aging loved one who needs care and help (and often money), has nowhere to turn and no idea how to get or even ask for help, and their own family/career/health to maintain at the same time.
It is so hard to see someone who has loved and cared for us need their own care. In addition to wanting to help and do everything we can, it’s emotionally and mentally taxing to see our loved one decline. It can also be very physically demanding and time-consuming. It takes us away from our own families and careers, often causing conflicts in one or both. Our goal and mission with the work that we do is to make things easier. To lighten the load and take some of the tasks and worry and responsibility – or at least work in partnership with you to do these things. We know that this is most likely the first time you’ve had to deal with all that’s associated with an aging loved one. But for us, this is what we do, so we’ve been through it dozens – hundreds – of times. We know the road, we know where to watch for pitfalls, and how to get around or through them. We know you’ll get through it & we’re ready to be there for and with you.
Christina is very involved in the legal and elder community. She is:
- A VA-accredited attorney (since 2012);
- A member of the California State Bar Association (2000) and the California Bar’s Trust & Estates Section;
- A graduate of UCSB with a BA in Law & Society; a graduate of UC Hastings College of the Law with a JD, a graduate of Michigan State University Broad College of Business with an MBA, and a graduate of the University of the Rockies with a MA in Psychology.
- A member of the Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA) and the ACBA Trusts and Estates Section;
- A member of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA) and the CCCBA Elder Law as well as their Estate Planning & Probate Sections, along with their Women’s and Solo & Small Firm Sections;
- A member of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR);
- A member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA);
- A member of the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California;
- A member of the National Care Planning Council;
- A member of Points of Life, LLC; and
- A member of Elder Counsel.
To make a benefit planning no cost consultation appointment with Christina, give us a call at 925.307.6543 or click here to make an appointment directly using our online scheduling. We have offices all over the Bay Area for your convenience, with our main office in Dublin and satellite offices in Oakland, Walnut Creek, San Francisco, San Mateo, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, San Rafael and Antioch.
There is more to elder care than legal advice and documents. Many – most, really – of our clients need help in other areas, such as financial or tax advice, help with home issues, such as a realtor for selling or reverse mortgage broker for loans, other home services such as accessibility modifications (ramps and rails, for example), medic alert jewelry, assisted living communities, assisted living placement services, in-home care services, and more. We work with a network of professionals that we know, like and trust that can help your family. We consider it part of our responsibility to be able to refer you to qualified professionals who can help you with all of your elder care needs.