There’s a lot involved with estate planning. Many people think that it’s nothing more than figuring out who is going to inherit your assets once you’re gone, which is certainly true, but estate planning can be much more detailed and wide-ranging than that. For example, powers of attorney can ensure that your medical and financial interests are protected in the event that you become incapacitated. Another often overlooked estate planning tool that can have a tremendous impact is the special needs trust.
What is a special needs trust?
A special needs trust is a trust that is established to benefit to assist a loved one who have a severe medical condition or disability. How this type of trust works is that assets put into the trust, while irrevocable, can be used to help your loved one while avoiding a negative impact on his or her ability to qualify for government programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. These programs have strict income requirements that can be quickly blown past when you just leave assets to your loved one through a traditional will. So, by using a special needs trust, you can help your loved one establish financial stability while still ensuring that he or she has access to the medical care he or she needs.
What can special needs trust assets be used for?
It’s important to note that there are some restrictions on special needs trusts and how their assets can be used. But it’s not all that difficult to find ways to use those assets in helpful ways. For example, the trust assets can be used to help pay for your loved one’s primary residence and a vehicle. They can also be used to buy personal effects and furnishings. In other words, these assets can go a long way while still protecting your loved one’s access to government programs.
Secure the estate plan that right for you
The best thing about estate planning is that it is completely customizable to fit you, your family, and your wishes for the future. But before you can create that plan, you need to know what tools are at your disposal. That’s where the assistance of a skilled and experienced estate planning attorney can prove beneficial.