Creating an Estate Plan When You Have a Special Needs Family Member
No two families have exactly the same estate planning needs and desires. Certain families can rely on a will for their planning purposes. Other families have more complex concerns or unique assets that require the use of other legal tools. If you have a special needs family member, complex planning may be necessary. Whether your loved one has a physical or mental disability, a medical condition or an addiction, unique estate planning tools and a special needs trust may prove invaluable.
It is certainly tempting to simply leave money to your special needs family member in a will. However, this strategy may be flawed in a number of ways.
- Your special needs loved one might be taken advantage of without explicit instructions.
- The money is at risk if your special needs family member is sued.
- The money is fair game for debt collectors.
If your loved one is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, leaving them money could turn out to be a terrible mistake. The same problems arise when you leave money to another family member and request that they use it to maintain your loved one’s quality of life. This is precisely why a special needs trust is often the best option because it can clearly define how your resources are allocated.
Special Needs Trusts Basics
A special needs trust is a legal tool that empowers you to store assets or cash that can only be used for the care of your special needs family member. The language of your special needs trust can be crafted in a manner that ensures the money is available for a narrow scope of expenses such as healthcare or a college education. It is also possible to alter the language of a special needs trust so the money can be spent on recreational pursuits.
The appointment of a trustee will safeguard your special needs family member’s interests and guarantee that they are cared for in the appropriate manner. Your appointed trustee will be responsible for overseeing the funds you leave for your special needs family member and ensuring that the money is used in the manner you specify. Please call us today at (210) 892-4555 to schedule an appointment for assistance with your estate planning needs. We can answer your questions and help you craft a plan that works best for you and your family.