The Three Big Special Needs Planning Mistakes To Avoid
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40 million Americans live with some form of a disability. These disabilities can range dramatically in their scope and their effect on a person’s life. If you have a child or another loved one with special needs, it is essential that you consider their unique situation when developing your estate plan.
Too many well-intentioned people make avoidable estate planning errors that actually undermine the best interests of their special needs loved ones. At Fisher Law LLC, we have extensive experience with special needs estate planning. Here, our Norwoodspecial needs planning lawyers highlight the three big special needs planning mistakes that you need to avoid in Massachusetts.
Mistake #1: Failing to Make a Plan for a High-Needs Person (Guardianship May Be Needed)
One of the most serious oversights in special needs planning is failing to make a comprehensive plan for a high-needs individual. Can a special needs loved one manage their full legal, financial, and day-to-day affairs without help? If not, there must be a proper support system in place. When a person cannot make decisions for themselves, establishing an adult guardianship may be the most sensible option. Be sure that you have a workable plan in place for a high-needs loved one.
Mistake #2: Leaving Assets Directly to Special Needs Loved One (Must Use Proper Trust)
Another critical mistake is leaving assets directly to a loved one with special needs. Here is the problem: Your direct inheritance can inadvertently disqualify them from receiving essential government benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are strictly needs-test programs. You do not want to render your loved one ineligible for support.
There is a clear estate planning solution: You can create and fund a Special Needs Trust (SNT). An SNT is a unique type of trust that is designed to hold assets for the benefit of a person with special needs. It can provide supplemental resources to a person with special needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for government programs.
Mistake #3: Not Effectively Communicating Your Plans With Other Family/Loved Ones
Open communication is one of the keys to effective estate planning—and perhaps nowhere is it more important than for special needs planning. Failing to effectively communicate your plans to other family members and loved ones can lead to confusion, conflict, and even some potential legal complications. Make sure you and your family are on the same page. Clear communication helps to align expectations.
Contact Our Boston Special Needs Planning Attorneys Today
At Fisher Law LLC, our Massachusetts estate planning lawyers have extensive experience with special needs planning. If you have any questions about special needs trusts or any other special needs planning issue, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a confidential, initial consultation. We provide special needs planning in Norwood and the surrounding communities of Norfolk County, Suffolk County, Middlesex County, and Plymouth County.