In this Elder Law Minute, Wes Coulson discusses the important steps to take in your estate plan when considering your special needs child.
I want to talk today in particular to people who are the parents or grandparents of special needs kids, and actually when I say kids, if you’re 85 and your child is 65, that of course is still your kid. What you need to know is that you really need to take special care in your estate plan because the way that you do things, if it’s not done correctly, you can affirmatively do a lot of harm to your special needs child.
If your will or your living trust leaves an inheritance for them outright, or by the same token, if you have made them a pay-on-death, transfer death beneficiary, life insurance beneficiary, directly and not through a special needs trust, their receipt of those assets is going to push them over asset limits for any means based benefits they’re getting. If they’re on Medicaid, you’re going to mess up their Medicaid eligibility. If they are on SSI, which is a Social Security program called Supplemental Security Income – it is also means tested, so you are going to mess up their SSI.
That can be fixed by the, but it can only be fixed at considerable expense, and here’s another big difference: If they inherit and they put the money in their own self-settled special needs trust, whatever is left of that money when that special needs person dies, is going to go first to the state to pay back any Medicaid assistance that they have received. If you do the special needs trust under your living trust or will, whatever is left of the money when your special needs child or grandchild dies is going to stay in the family. It’s going to go to whoever you said you want that money to go to.
So, huge huge difference in outcomes. If you’re involved in this situation, give us a call. This is something we can really help with.
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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (618) 632-7000 (IL) or (314) 567-9292 (MO), or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.