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Balancing income and benefits: the role of a special needs trust

Effective estate planning is never boilerplate for any individual or family in Texas or elsewhere, because, quite simply, circumstances necessarily vary from case to case.

As we have noted in prior select posts, no situation or family is the same. Estate administration must be approached in every instance with strong appreciation for that fact. In some cases, tax considerations loom large, while the predominant focus in others might be on inheritance issues, a family business, charitable giving or other matters.

A recent Wall Street Journal article focuses on what can be a key concern in many families, namely, optimally arranging for the continued care and consistent inflow of funds for a disabled family member.

That can be tricky, because a basic conundrum exists in cases where an estate plan seeks to provide for a disabled loved one who is already receiving means-tested benefits through government programs such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid.

That challenge is this: to ensure the continued inflow of assets to the person while at the same time not jeopardizing his or her continuing right to benefits.

An experienced estate planning attorney knows well how to respond to such a situation and craft a responsive plan that fully promotes the best interests of all persons involved in the administration of an estate.

In many cases involving a disabled loved one, a special needs trust can be the perfect planning tool to manage assets and income. This legal instrument can help provide for continued financial support without undermining a beneficiary’s continued eligibility for government benefits.

An estate administration attorney with proven experience in trust creation can answer questions and help ensure that an estate plan makes eminent sense and is fully effective.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Estate plan preserves a disabled son's benefits," Alex Coppola, Dec. 2, 2013

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