You must evaluate the unique needs and personal proclivities of your heirs when you are planning your estate.
There is no one required way to transfer assets to your loved ones. The intelligent course of action is to discuss your unique family dynamic with a good estate planning attorney when you are making preparations for the future.
Your lawyer will listen closely as you explain your intentions and subsequently make recommendations based on his or her professional experience and expertise.
With the above in mind people who have family members with special needs should certainly discuss the details of their family situation with an experienced attorney.
There are websites on the Internet that offer do-it-yourself estate planning downloads and worksheets. People who buy into these “solutions” sometimes wind up taking uninformed actions that have far-reaching negative consequences.
For example, if you simply left a direct inheritance to someone with a disability you may be unintentionally doing this individual a great disservice. This is because there are upper financial resource limits one must stay within to receive certain government benefits.
A significant percentage of people with special needs do indeed rely on government benefits because they require expensive forms of care.
As a result, careful advanced planning strategies must be implemented to provide for a loved one with special needs without doing anything to jeopardize this individual’s access to government assistance.
The intelligent course of action is to work with a licensed legal professional when you are arranging for asset transfers to the people that you love. Those who look for quick fixes are being penny wise and pound foolish, and the loved ones that they leave behind often wind up suffering the consequences.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
Parman & Easterday are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.