People with disabilities have a difficult life already so there is no need in making it harsher than it already is. Planning some things ahead of time is a good thing no matter what the planning is about.
Today we have a serious topic in front of you and it regards lawyers and special needs individuals. Special needs planning for a family member or a child with a disability is very important and what is even more important is that plan is reviewed regularly and that everything is in place. You want to consider and look at all the benefits from the government and you want to protect those benefits because they are often tested. That test comes in a form of a child or a family member with a disability who can’t have a certain amount of money or assets in their name.
There are plenty of conundrums regarding this question and all the legality and law behind it which is why you should always have a special needs attorney that can navigate you safely through all those. Choosing a good one is your primary task and today besides writing about tips we will also direct your attention to specialneedsalliance.org which specialize in these things. All you need and all you are interested in will be right here for you.
To continue with the article, we will now address the tips you need to know when you are working with a special needs attorney, so stick with us till the end.
1. Do not disinherit your family member with special needs
Back in the day, this was a really common occurrence. People were scared, they didn’t know what to do, and way back it was somewhat of a shame to have a family member or anyone close to you with any kind of disability. What is even more important is that those way-back days transferred to our very recent times and people still disinherited their family members but for different reasons. Shame was not the case here but an aged approach where people tried to make sure that their loved ones will receive all the government benefits that were available to them. That, thankfully, is a long history and approaches changed, both from government and from people as well. You don’t have to go to these lengths now to make sure your loved ones get what they are intended, and instead of disinheriting them, you might want to consider allocating those assets towards a third-party special needs trust. With that, you will make sure that your loved ones get the benefit of that while also receiving those government benefits.
2. Prepare a letter of intent
Letter of intent is partially what it says it is. In this, you can put all the crucial information that regards your loved one with a disability. All of their likes, dislikes, special toys, pets, movies, it is limitless on what you can put in this. This letter of intent is your way to ensure an easy transition. At some point, you will eventually have to change caregivers for any reason. With this document, letter to be precise, you will make sure that this transition goes as smoothly as possible. As you all know people with disabilities do not make changes lightly and you will have to make sure that new caregivers be as similar to the old ones as possible.
3. Special need trustees should be chosen carefully
Whenever you are thinking of appointing someone as a trustee of a special needs trust you need to consider a few things. Professionalism, care that needs to be aimed toward your disabled loved ones, whether they are family or not and so on. Since people with disabilities do need a lot of attention and care, this step is crucial. When choosing a trustee for special needs trust you need to take care of so many things mainly because that someone will have sole and absolute discretion of the trust. This is why you need to make sure that they are staying current with all the rules and regulations that are required for the beneficiary to always stay eligible for the benefits they require. Some people tend to name their family members for this while others like to go for professionals simply to avoid any family conflicts or issues. Talk over with your lawyer thoroughly and see what are the best ways for you and your loved ones.
4. Life insurance as a way to fund your special needs trust
Life insurances are great in so many ways and when it comes to the special needs trust. They can be a neat way of funding those trusts and they are more acceptable than retirement plans and IRAs have some setbacks in a form of a minimum redistribution that can negatively impact means-tested public benefits. Another thing to know is that if retirement plan benefits are paid to the special needs trust trigger income tax liability that can reduce the amount of money available to your family member. Be very of this and have both your lawyer and financial advisor make up a good plan which can allow you to utilize all means available to you to the maximum.
5. Titling and beneficiary designations should be thoroughly reviewed
This task is really important if you want to stop any assets from inadvertently getting passed directly to your loved ones with a disability. This is important because if this happens it could stop them from receiving public benefits that are necessary and this would also be a good time to have a sit down with your family members and talk on this subject. Most often family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles will think that they are doing you and your family a service by passing by some assets on your disabled family member but they are not. This is why it is important to have this talk and to notify them of your moves and intentions.
The bottom line is to have all this in line and already thought through and that you have at least some pointer or a general plan to where you want your plan to go when you sit down with the attorney that is specialized for the special needs planning. Use these, talk them through with your chosen lawyer and see if you need to add or retract anything, and without a doubt, you will have more than a good and stable plan for your loved ones.