special needs trusts

Passing on Assets to People with Special Needs

As the year comes to an end and the holidays approach, many people consider making gifts to their loved ones. Not only is passing assets on an excellent way to show your love and consideration for your family members, but it is also a great strategy to reduce the risk of taxes. This is because current federal tax law allows taxpayers to gift amounts of up to $15,000 each year to a recipient without this being counted against a person’s lifetime gift exemption of $11.4 million.  There is also no better time than the present to make these distributions because the $11.4 million threshold will reduce to $5.49 million in 2026. This article reviews some special considerations that you should remember to follow, however, if you decide to transfer assets to a loved one with special needs. Anticipate the Risks If not properly navigated, passing on assets to loved ones with special needs can end up interfering with that person’s eligibility for government benefits. This is not the only risk involved with transferring assets, though. Even if a loved one does not receive Social Security Insurance or Medicaid, directly transferring assets might still not be a good idea if one     Read More

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How Trusts can Help People Who do Not Have a Lot of Assets

Estate planning is an uncomfortable process. Most people find it difficult to consider how their belongings will be distributed following their death. If you fail to make these choices, however, the alternatives are often much less desirable.  Not only does failure to create an adequate estate plan increase the chances that fighting will occur in your family, unnecessary taxes are also common. These challenges as well as many others can be avoided through the creation of a trust.  Despite this, the myth persists that trusts are only for the extremely wealthy and that they take a great deal of funds upfront to create. In reality, trusts are a powerful tool for most people because they offer the ability to great simplify things after a person’s death.  The Role of Trusts There are a number of different types of trusts that can be made part of a person’s estate plan. The most common type of trust used is a revocable living trust, which lets a person clearly outline how assets in an estate will be administered following that person’s death.  Trusts also let people avoid the probate process, which is the legal process through which a will is declared valid. Many     Read More

Learning from the Estate Planning Mistakes of Aretha Franklin

While Aretha Franklin is remembered as an extraordinarily talented musician, she made some significant estate planning mistakes from which we can all learn. When Franklin died in August of 2018, she did not leave a will or any type of estate plan despite having four children, including one with special needs. If you fail to leave an estate plan, it means that your inheritance will not be distributed in the way that you intended. If you need any type of estate planning assistance, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney. A Large Number of Americans Die Without Estate Plans Caring.com released a study in 2017 that found a large number of Americans die without a living trust or will. The most common reason why individuals claim they do not create these estate planning documents is that they simply have not gotten around to it yet. There are many reasons why people delay creating estate plans including the emotional unpleasantness of having to make end-of-life decisions. Other individuals think that because they do not have a large inheritance, creating an estate plan is not important. In reality, everyone should be concerned about proper estate planning because     Read More

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