Estate planning tips for special needs families

On Behalf of | May 10, 2018 | Estate Planning

Nevada residents may find that creating an estate plan is difficult under normal circumstances. It could be even more challenging for families who have members with special needs. This is because an estate plan needs to take into account rules related to government benefits while making sure others know how to care for that person if a parent cannot. Writing a letter of intent may help family members or other parties learn more about the disabled person and how care should be provided.

The letter of intent can also describe the rules and regulations surrounding different government benefits a special needs individual receives. It can also be possible to provide instructions within a supplemental needs trust (SNT) that guide how money enters and leaves the trust. Ideally, the SNT will be created while a family member is still alive to reduce the chances that matters related to the special needs person’s care have to be resolved in court.

If a special needs person receives a gift, it should be made to the trust instead of to the individual directly. Choosing a trustee is perhaps the biggest decision that is made regarding an SNT. It is possible to choose both a person and a corporate entity to act as co-trustees, and this may be an ideal decision for larger trusts.

A special needs trust may be an effective way to provide resources to family members who need extra care. It may be used among other trusts that can help to provide protection from creditors or otherwise add value to a person’s estate plan. It can also allow those eligible for government benefits to receive them as well as gifts from family members. An attorney could help an individual create new trust documents or review those that already exist.