While a lot of estate planning is about figuring out who will receive your assets when you pass away, it’s actually about much more than that. It’s also about ensuring that your healthcare and financial decisions rest in trustworthy hands in the event that you are incapacitated, and that your loved ones are taken care of as needed when the time comes. A special needs trust is a perfect example of how a well thought out estate plan can have a huge positive impact for a long time to come.
The basics of a special needs trust
A special needs trust is a great estate planning tool that can help you care for a loved one with a medical condition or some other special need, even after you’re gone. There are two major ways a special needs trust accomplishes this. First, assets that are placed in trust don’t count as income for government assistance eligibility. This means that being a beneficiary of a special needs trust doesn’t affect an individual’s ability to receive Medicaid, Medicare, and other benefits. There are some restrictions on how special needs trust funds can be used, though, so discuss those limitations with your attorney.
The second way a special needs trust can help your loved one is the way that funds within the trust are protected from creditors. If there’s a judgment against you or your loved one, the assets in the trust can’t be taken. This ensures that your loved one’s care takes top priority, regardless of the circumstances.
Don’t put your plan at risk by trying to draft it yourself
There’s a lot at stake during the estate planning process, even if it doesn’t seem like it. This is because a seemingly minor mistake can have huge implications that can lead to your assets going somewhere you never intended. Faulty estate planning can lead to family in-fighting, too, which can be costly to your estate and your family’s relationships. Don’t risk all of that by turning to insufficient and oftentimes inaccurate internet resources. Alternatively, think about speaking with an attorney who can help create the customized estate plan that perfectly fits your needs.