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Houston Estate Planning Law Blog

Setting up a special needs trust in Texas

When putting together estate plans, if a loved one in your life is living with a disability -- and is mentally unable to manage his or her own finances -- you may want to consider working with an attorney to create a special needs trust. This is an estate planning tool that ensures resources are given to a loved one, without having to worry about that person losing any government assistance. 

In the most basic of terms, according to a FindLaw article, a special needs trust allows you to name a trustee and a beneficiary. The beneficiary will be the person receiving the assets, while the trustee is the person who will be in charge of managing the assets. This trustee should be someone who you know could handle this responsibility. If no one is named, the court will appoint a third party.

VA benefits can be integral component of a sound estate plan

One thing that is immediately notable about estate planning -- that is, well-considered and carefully tailored planning for an individual or family -- is its comprehensive nature.

Put another way, a sound and effective plan is centrally marked by its thoughtful incorporation of myriad integrated factors. In most cases, it's not simply about just a house or some money. Rather, a meaningful plan will have considered whether one or more trusts might advance a planner's interests. It will have considered whether the special needs of a family member must be addressed. It will have looked at inheritances, property, taxes, elder-care needs, guardianships, gifting, charitable intent and much more.

Will outcomes: Can you make everyone happy ?

Given that every family is different, so, too, will be the attitudes of various family members regarding the provisions of a will in any instance.

In some cases, nothing but warm hugs and universal happiness will follow from the reading of a will, with every family member feeling cherished and fairly dealt with. In other cases, rancor and discord will envelop the room in which a will's details are being spilled forth. Dad did what?

Continued focus: How can a Miller Trust help my family?

With many estate administration concerns, advance planning can make all the difference.

Although that might seem immediately obvious to many people regarding things like wills, tax avoidance and the disposition of assets to heirs, it can be a bit less clear in other areas.

Take Medicaid for example, especially the program’s requirements for qualification.

Many people are flatly in the dark on that subject matter, and understandably so, given the complexity with which the program is administered and its benefits conferred.

Upcoming Events - January

At Hayes & Wilson, we love to provide information to the community about Estate Planning, Guardianship, Trusts, and Probate. Sometimes we attend events to speak and impart knowledge and sometimes we attend to continue our own education. Here's what's coming up on our agenda:

What is a Miller Trust, and how might it help my family?

Just as American life is marked by rapid change and flux, constancy, too, is an overriding theme in many areas of our society.

That is, some things that loom large in everyday life remain essentially the same over time, notwithstanding broad-based efforts to modify them.

Take health care costs, for example. High outlays for care have been a sobering concern of individuals and families in Texas and across the country for years, with a great national debate ongoing that is focused upon possible solutions for combating ever-escalating expenditures.

Yet while that debate goes on, medical costs for many Americans continue to spike, to the point where affordability and the availability of care for millions have become fundamental national concerns.

Probate: What is it, and what is an attorney's role?

The term "probate," being a description for a technical and highly detailed estate administration process, is likely not fully understood by many lay persons.

Indeed, that is similarly true for many lawyers as well, especially attorneys who practice professionally in fields other than estate planning.

'Probate' has been somewhat narrowly construed as a forum/process for resolving questions and issues surrounding a will. Was one executed? Did it satisfy all of a state's particulars for being a valid legal instrument, or was it infirm for lacking something essential, such as a witness, a testator's signature or a sufficient description regarding an inheritance?

With Medicaid, advance planning is of critical importance

At Hayes & Wilson , PLLC, we believe it would be a great disservice to mince words about the importance of Medicaid planning for our clients who will likely need to qualify for and use Medicaid in the future.

Frankly, Medicaid is not something to gloss over or visit in tardy fashion without close assistance from a proven elder law attorney. As we candidly state on the Medicaid Qualifications page of our firm’s website, “simply filing for Medicaid without sound legal counsel could result in a tremendous and unnecessary loss of income and available assets.”

The reasons for that distinct and adverse possibility are several, and should be clearly understood by all individuals who will need to rely upon this important government program in their senior years.

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