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How Can I Protect a Loved One With Special Needs in My Estate Plan?

Making a proper estate plan is always a necessity, but it’s especially important when one of the children or another family member who is left behind has special needs. There are a few ways that you can protect a loved one with special needs when you are planning out what to do with your estate, but it can be difficult to do this all on your own. You should talk to a Des Moines special needs planning lawyer that has experience crafting estate plans that can protect the most vulnerable members of the family.

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What Type of Trust Should I Establish with My Estate Plan?

There are two types of trusts that are generally established to help loved ones with special needs. They are:

A support trust: In this arrangement, a trustee can manage the finances on behalf of the beneficiary with special needs in order to ensure that they have all of their basic needs met. However, a trust like this will make them ineligible for benefits like Medicaid or SSI.

A special needs trust: This kind of trust would allow a beneficiary to qualify for benefits and access your assets when needed. This is the most common way of setting up a trust for a child with special needs and likely the most effective one for you.

Everyone has a different situation though, so if you have any questions we can look at your exact circumstances and try to come up with the best possible estate plan.

Who Should be the Trustee?

In some cases a family member is chosen as the trustee, giving them power over the funds that have been left behind. Their familiarity with your loved one may be beneficial, but other problems could arise that make choosing a trustee who is more professional and detached from the situation a smarter move.

You could choose your attorney or a bank. You can also designate a trust protector who could remove a family member that was not acting in the interest of the beneficiary of the trust.

How Should I Split Assets in My Estate Plan?

Some people try their best to split things evenly if they are leaving behind multiple children. Sometimes people choose to leave more money to their child with special needs though, especially if the other children are living more self-sufficient lives and would not need the support.

We can help you weigh the division of assets between your children and make sure that everyone is adequately supported after you are gone.

Talk to an Experienced Estate Lawyer

If you have a special needs child you need to be sure that they are protected and given access to the resources they need when you are gone. Contact Herting Law, PLLC and we will do our best to help you develop an estate plan that will give you peace of mind.

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