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Protecting Special Needs Children through Estate Planning

Originally posted on 01/09/2017

A child with special needs looks out over their balcony. When we create our estate plans, we intend to leave something for our heirs in order to remember us, or to make sure they are taken care of. Indeed, these are well-intentioned goals, but leaving certain assets could have unintended consequences for those in financial need.

For example, recipients of supplemental security income (SSI) could lose their right to such benefits if they inherit money or assets. Essentially, federal rules prohibit such beneficiaries from receiving benefits if they have more than $2000 in assets. Because of this, caregivers must be careful about leaving considerable assets to pay monthly bills because this method of generosity could lead to a denial of future benefits.  

This post will highlight a few ways to protect the future of your children with special needs.

Create a Special Needs Trust

Indeed, federal rules prevent an SSI beneficiary from owning assets worth over a certain amount, but they do not prevent another entity from doing so. More importantly, they do not prevent the beneficiary from being a beneficiary to a special needs trust. This way, parents or loved can bequeath assets or money to the trust, without offending the rules.

Set Up an ABLE Account

If a special needs trust is not helpful, an ABLE account may be useful. Through these special accounts, caregivers may set aside up to $14,000 per for special needs children that will enable them to pay for regular expenses in the future. Federal law allows these accounts to grow to up to $100,000 without Medicaid or SSI eligibility being affected. 

Partner with Aldrich Legal Services to Plan for the Future of Your Children with Special Needs

The future is uncertain, especially for those with additional care requirements. Help protect your children's future with estate planning from experienced attorneys like those at Aldrich Legal Services. Give our team a call toady. 

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