Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for how your assets will be distributed after your death. It is an important process for everyone, but it is especially important for people with disabilities. People with disabilities may have unique needs and concerns when it comes to estate planning.
Here are some of the unique estate planning considerations for people with disabilities:
• Inheritance: If you are leaving assets to a loved one with a disability, it is important to consider their individual needs to create a plan to shelter the inheritance your loved ones are to receive.
• Governmental benefits: People with disabilities frequently receive government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. It is important to ensure that your estate plan does not jeopardize your loved ones’ eligibility for these benefits. The vast majority of these programs are asset/income dependent such that your plan must be carefully tailored to ensure their aid is protected.
• Special needs trusts: A special needs trust is a type of trust that can be used to hold assets for the benefit of a person with a disability without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.
• Guardianship: If you have a minor child with a disability, you will need to designate a guardian for them in your will.
Here are some tips for creating an estate plan that meets the needs of people with disabilities:
• Work with an experienced estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a plan that meets your specific needs and goals.
• Consider a special needs trust. A special needs trust can be a valuable tool for protecting your loved one’s assets and ensuring that they continue to receive government benefits.
• Designate a guardian for your minor children with disabilities. Choose someone who is trustworthy and who will care for your children in the way that you would want.
• Consider the needs of your loved one with a disability when planning your inheritance. You may want to leave your assets to a special needs trust or to a loved one who can help manage the assets for your loved one’s benefit.
Estate planning is an important process for everyone, but it is especially important for people with disabilities. By working with an estate planning attorney and considering the unique needs of people with disabilities, you can create a plan that meets your needs and goals and protects your loved ones after your death.