Did you know that October is Special Needs and Autism Awareness month? This year, the J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C. team is celebrating by sharing some important information about estate planning. When you have special needs yourself or you have a loved one with special needs, there are some unique factors you need to keep in mind when creating your plan.
1. Benefit eligibility
Some benefits that your loved one with special needs may rely on are need based. This includes Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and similar benefits. This means that if the person receiving this benefit inherits assets bringing their networth above a certain threshold, they may lose access to the government support they’re counting on. Thoughtful estate planning can help you side step this issue.
2. Future functioning
How much care will the person with special needs require in the future? Will they be able to live independently? Will they be able to earn additional income on their own, or will they be solely reliant on help from family and government benefits? It is important to keep expected future functioning levels in mind when creating your plan.
3. Asset management
Can your loved one with special needs manage his or her assets by themself or do they need oversight from someone who has their best interests in mind? If they need help, it may be wise to use a trust. This way, the person with special needs will not have direct access to the assets, nor will they be responsible for managing it or deciding what purchases are and are not necessary. Instead, the trustee, who you can choose, will take care of the financial side of things for them.
4. Work with an experienced attorney
Not every estate planning attorney has experience navigating the complexities that arise when someone has special needs. Attorney J. Kevin Tharpe has focused on these issues in particular for over 25 years, giving him the experience and understanding you’re looking for. If you have special needs yourself or you want to make sure your estate plan makes arrangements to provide for a loved one with special needs after you are gone, our team is here to help you. We encourage you to contact us today to learn more about our services and schedule a consultation.