Families with disabilities and/or special needs have a bit more to think about when it comes to estate planning. Asset transfers must be planned thoughtfully so that minor or adult children can remain eligible for any government benefits they are entitled to receive should something happen to their legal guardians. This may be accomplished in a number of ways depending upon the needs of the child and the family's financial situation: Third-party Supplement Needs Trusts and ABLE Accounts can help families create functional estate plans that suit all members of their family. First-party Supplemental Needs Trusts and pooled trusts can help to create eligibility for individuals who otherwise would not qualify for benefits because they exceed the $2,000 asset threshold.
It is critical to name an appropriate trustee to manage assets for your loved one over time while keeping in mind their likes and dislikes to ensure that they are provided for in the best way possible. It is also critical to ensure that your child or loved one continues to have an advocate beyond the role of trustee. Together we can discuss and determine who should act as a child's advocate, and what that role should look like over time. It is also crucial to document details about the child's disability, how you would like your child's resources to be used, and how you picture your child's future.
Know that planning for your family can be difficult and emotionally taxing, especially if your family has a disability or special need. But creating a thoughtful plan can help to lighten the load of an uncertain future.
If you have not yet created an estate plan designed especially for your family member with a disability, please contact us
so that we can work together to set them up for a successful future.