When you are seriously engaged in your estate planning efforts there are a lot of things to take into consideration. You have to evaluate your own projected needs and balance these with the legacy goals that you have established. How you handle your assets as the individual who is ultimately going to be distributing them to your loved ones is a large part of the equation, but you also have to consider the specific identities of those who will be receiving bequests.
Depending on how many people you will be giving inheritances to and the size and scope of your estate this can be quite an involved task. For many people it is not simply a matter of liquidating assets and then splitting that liquid capital into inheritance “shares” as it were. You may want to provide for different respective family members in very specific ways depending on their age, their demonstrated ability to handle money, certain sentimental concerns, possible involvement in a family-run business, and even their physical and mental well-being.
Should you have a family member that you would like to provide for who is physically or mentally disabled and receiving Medicaid benefits you are placed in a potentially a difficult situation. In order to qualify for Medicaid benefits a disabled individual must not be in possession of more than $2000 in assets. So to make sure that the supplemental needs of this loved one are met without impacting Medicaid eligibility you can fund a special needs trust, appoint a trustee, and name your disabled family member as the beneficiary.
The beneficiary of the trust cannot have access to the funds or direct usage of the trust resources in any way and still remain eligible for Medicaid. The trustee must maintain sole discretion of expenditures made in behalf of the beneficiary so is very important to select your trustee carefully. The verbiage of the trust document must be extremely precise, so it is important to make sure that the vehicle is originally constructed by an experienced, savvy estate planning attorney who has a background in special needs planning.
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