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THE SPL LEGAL PAD BLOG

Using an estate plan to protect vulnerable loved ones

| Jul 1, 2021 | Estate Planning

Crafting an estate plan can benefit your loved ones as much as it benefits you. For instance, an estate plan can make difficult situations much easier on them. 

An estate plan can be especially valuable for loved ones with special needs. These parties have a lot to lose or gain based on your planning efforts and strategies. Below are tips for how you can use your estate plan to benefit a vulnerable loved one. 

Special needs trusts

One common way to protect loved ones with special needs is to set up a special needs trust

Often, these parties collect benefits through public assistance. However, receiving a significant amount of money or property could compromise their eligibility for needs-based programs. Thus, it is crucial to structure gifts in such a way that they will not jeopardize the assistance they receive. 

A special needs trust allows individuals to place property in the trust, which a trustee will manage. This arrangement can ensure a person receives the money you want them to without making that person ineligible for financial assistance.

Addressing care responsibilities

Assigning care responsibilities is crucial if your loved one is dependent on you for care or they are not capable of caring for you if you become incapacitated.

In an estate plan, you can appoint guardians, powers of attorney and other responsibilities to ensure there are people you trust in positions to make crucial care and financial decisions for you or your loved one.

Helping loved ones cope

If you are close with a vulnerable loved one, your loss can be highly distressing and upsetting for them. Certain events could make that experience even more painful, including a long, stressful probate process and arguments over what you would want regarding matters like final arrangements.

Creating an estate plan can make all these situations more manageable. A plan can provide the direction parties need to carry out your wishes; it can prevent confusion or doubt, which often fuels disagreements; it could allow parties to avoid probate altogether. 

Considering all the ways having an estate plan can make distressing situations easier for loved ones with special needs, not having one can be a costly and avoidable mistake.