There are different ways that you can go about planning your estate. It is not always going to be a matter of drawing up a last will or simple living trust that explains how you want a pie of sorts sliced up among multiple people.
There are websites on the Internet that sell do-it-yourself estate planning notions. They suggest that it is easy to plan your own estate by creating a last will or perhaps a revocable living trust.
Consumer Reports magazine published an article a while back recommending against do-it-yourself estate planning. Experts that examined last wills created using online methods offered by three of the leading do-it-yourself legal document purveyors saw multiple problems.
Even if you did create an acceptable document using an online tool, are you sure that it is the right type of device for your needs? With this in mind, let’s look at special needs trusts.
Preserving Government Benefits
If you have someone with a disability on your inheritance list, you have to consider the impact that an inheritance may have on this individual from a holistic perspective. Many people with disabilities are heavily reliant on government programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
These are need-based programs. To qualify for Medicaid, your countable assets cannot exceed $2,000. If you were a Medicaid recipient and you received a direct inheritance exceeding this amount, you could become ineligible.
You can set aside assets to improve the quality of life of someone who has a disability who is receiving government benefits by creating a special needs trust.
With any trust you must name a trustee. The trustee that you choose to administer the special needs trust will be empowered to use assets that have been conveyed into the trust for certain supplemental purposes that are of value to the beneficiary. Special needs trusts are alternately called supplemental trusts for just this reason.
The types of things that are paid for by the trust are allowable under Medicaid rules. Generally speaking, assets that have been conveyed into the trust can be used to pay for things that government benefits won’t pay for.
Every Family Is Unique
There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan. There are various different courses of action that can be taken depending on the circumstances.
Personalized attention is key. When you consult with a licensed estate planning attorney that you feel comfortable communicating with, you can go forward with a carefully constructed estate plan that perfectly suits your needs.
Over the years, things can change. Your attorney will be ideally suited to help you make adjustments that reflect your new situation as time passes and things evolve within your life and throughout the society as a whole.
Parman & Easterday