Special Needs Trusts are Always Available to those Who Need them

There are a million different things that a special needs parent or caregiver worries about each day. The most common question faced by special needs parents and caregivers is, “What will happen to them if I am not here?”

Today, 72 percent of parents and caregivers have not named a trustee for their child. Many have not even formally planned their future care or guardianship.

Starting a special needs trust has many benefits for parents and caregivers. Here is everything you need to know about a special needs trust.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is a rollover of money for a special needs child or individual.

In 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act.  This changed the wording to existing laws about special needs trusts.

This empowered special needs children and adults to get funding through a trust. That funding would be on top of any existing social assistance they were already on.

With this trust, an individual can get their public help, and their extra money too. This is true even if they get an inheritance or life insurance payment after you are gone.

Knowing an attorney can help you protect yourself and your child in the case of divorce or another kind of loss will help you both sleep better at night.

What Kind of Trusts Are There?

There are several kinds of special needs trusts. The most common ones are self-settled trusts and pooled trust.

In a self-settled trust, the individual creates the trust themselves from their own money. If it is a minor, a parent or caregiver must establish the trust, and determine when the child can access it.

A South Carolina probate court must approve that. The 21st Century Cures Act says that those that are no longer minors can do their own trust without a court’s approval.

A pooled trust typically occurs when the individual is over 65 and establishes the trust on their own.

Key Benefit of Special Needs Trusts

There are multiple benefits of special needs trusts.  The greatest benefits are a peace of mind and fewer sleepless nights. 

When you put a trustee in place, you have one less job to do.  This gives you more respite, or break time, in your daily life. This supports not only you, but it also supports your child or special needs individuals in establishing their own line of financial independence.

Asset Protection

An adult individual with special needs will probably be on public assistance at some point. You may name them as your beneficiary on life insurance or estate planning.

Having a special needs trust is better, as this will protect those assets when the time comes. Sometimes, they could be cut off of public funding if they get a large inheritance or estate gift.

Many special needs parents say the benefits of a special needs trust will outweigh the risks or initial investment. You want an expert to help you with this.

Explore Personalized Strategies

Many special needs adults cannot work. These are the families with the highest poverty rates. By setting up a special needs trust, you are protecting their future. 

Do you have questions about setting up a trust? Contact Indigo Family Law and set up a consultation where we can explore your options.

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Handing Down the House: 3 Tips for Putting Your House in a Trust

You want to leave your home to your children when you pass away, but all you can picture is the two of them as children fighting to win a battle of tug-of-war. What do you do?

Estate planning is the key to an amicable distribution of property. It is essential to provide the blueprint for how your assets are split and to make sure everyone is treated right.

In this article, let’s take a look at the difference between a will and a trust. Plus, we will give you three tips for putting your house in a trust.

Where There Is a Will… Will vs Trust

Should you set up a will, or a trust, or both? Let’s look at the differences.

A will gives a detailed account of what happens to your assets when you are gone. It does not affect anything while you are living. It also spells out how your family should handle decisions about your medical care, whereas a trust is something that takes effect as soon as you set it up. 

Your trust is solely about assets, like real estate and retirement accounts. And it only controls those assets that you have put into it before you die.

Another big difference is that a will must go through probate. Meaning the court must approve the will, which takes time. A trust does not go through probate, so your relatives have access to your assets faster. 

Discuss your needs with an estate attorney. They may suggest that you form both, a will and a trust, depending on your assets.

Find the Right Trustee

Find the right trustee to handle things when you are gone.

When you create a trust, you will assign your assets to beneficiaries. If you have more than one beneficiary for your home, the trustee can decide what happens if your heirs or recipients do not agree. Specify this in your trust verbiage.

There are a few things to take into consideration when you choose a trustee. If you are worried about conflict between beneficiaries, it is best to choose someone outside of the family. You can appoint joint trustees, but that is not the best idea if you fear that they will disagree.

A good rule of thumb is to pick someone you trust that has plenty of common sense. Legal knowledge is excellent too, but not mandatory for a good trustee.

Talk to Your Kids

Keep the lines of communication open when you do your retirement planning. Let all of your beneficiaries know your plans so they are not caught blindsided when you pass away.

You can use these conversations to gauge whether there will be conflict over assets. You may even be able to mend potential conflicts while you are still around.

However, remember this, no matter what people say while you are alive, they may always change their tune after you die.

Words are Important

How you word the trust documents is essential. You must be as specific as possible when you set up the trust so there is no confusion later on. 

Do your research on topics like “joint tenant with survivorship” and “transfer on death.” Talk with your attorney about the options and have the paperwork drawn up exactly as you wish. 

Putting Your House in a Trust the Right Way

Putting your house in a trust is a great decision, as long as it is done the right way. Before you begin, understand the difference between a will and a trust. Talk with your attorney about the best option for your situation.

Pick a trustee who is competent and will not fight with the beneficiaries over property ownership. Talk to your beneficiaries so that everyone is on the same page. Understand the verbiage and create trust paperwork that is detailed and specific.

Are you ready to get started on an estate plan? Contact Indigo Family Law for excellent legal advice. 

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Keep the Finances in the Family: 5 Benefits of Making a Trust

Imagine this sad, but all too possible, situation.

You are married with four, five, six kids. You have a will — that you and your spouse created a decade and three kids ago!

Your younger children’s names are nowhere on your will. They would get left out of anything should something happen to you or your spouse. Your oldest child may get your entire estate, whether they are capable or not.

This is the situation that made my husband and I stop in our tracks. While driving home one day, I realized that if I were to get into an accident, my finances were not prepared. I had an outdated will and no living trust.

Don’t let this scenario happen to you and your loved ones! Establishing a trust is important for all families. 

Keep reading to see why this is true!

Living Trusts Go into Effect Now, Not Later

Will vs. living trust is a common debate with a semi-complicated answer. But, we see at least one major reason to consider a living trust instead.

A will goes into effect in the event of the maker’s passing. But living trusts go into effect now, before anyone’s passing. This is especially important in the event that you become physically or mentally incapable before writing a will.

Making a Trust Guarantees Privacy

Wills are worked out in probate court. After the will-maker’s passing, they become public record. They are contestable, public, and can be argued into changing!

A living trust avoids probate court, making them private and uncontestable. What the writer says goes! It cannot be fought by disgruntled friends or greedy family members.

Your Property Avoids Probate

If you put your property into a living trust, you can avoid probate (as we mentioned). The trustee named in the trust agreement can step into the shoes of the trust maker without hassle. 

Probate is not required for transferring ownership; the beneficiary does not own the property. It is a separate legal entity.

It Protects Your Property from Incapables

Let’s say the total of your assets and estate is a large dollar amount. If you have an eighteen-year-old, you may not want the total going to them — yet.

A living trust allows your assets to be divvied out smartly over time. Your trustee allocates a discussed amount to the beneficiary in increments. This can help prevent irresponsible spending in youth, addicts, or unsmart spenders.

It Protects You If You Are Incapable

This ties into our first benefit of living trusts; they go into effect immediately. 

This even helps in that event that you become incapable of dealing with your finances or estate. If you become mentally or physically incapacitated, a living trust covers your assets. It puts them in the hands of a pre-approved (by you) trustee.

Trust Us: You Need a Living Trust

Now that you see why making a trust is so important, it is time to get writing!

Use careful consideration to decide what you want your living trust to cover — and for whom.  Remember, it is never too early to start drafting it. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

A family attorney can help you make the appropriate decisions. Here is how to find the best one in Myrtle Beach!

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Assets from the Afterlife: How to Set Up a Living Trust

Being a loving parent or spouse does not just involve being there for your loved ones in the present. Responsible people will make sure that their loved ones are cared for in the event of their death.

Preparing for death can be difficult for everyone involved, and matters of divorce or other family changes can make things more complicated. When the time comes, the last thing you will want to do is trouble yourself with a lot of legal paperwork.

Because they want to be prepared, it is not unusual for people to ask their attorneys how to set up a living trust.

You may have heard of wills, but you may not be aware of how setting up a living trust could benefit you and your loved ones.

If you want to learn of a reliable and simple way to care for your loved ones in the afterlife, read on to learn more. 

Why You Should Create a Living Trust

A living trust is a written legal document that allows your assets to be placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime. Once you pass, they are transferred to designated beneficiaries of your choosing (also known as a successor trustee). 

Some consider setting up a living trust because they want to avoid the headaches of probate

Even if you have a valid will, your estate will need to go through probate. Court proceedings will distribute your assets through your executor.

A living trust does not need to go through probate. Your successor trustee will pay your debts and distribute your assets in accordance with your instructions.

Not having your living trust go through probate means that your assets can be distributed quickly. Sometimes wills can take months or years to be determined.

Others choose living trusts because they value their privacy. Wills are on public record and the distribution of assets can easily be found. 

How to Set up a Living Trust

Now that you know the benefits of a living trust, you may be interested in learning how to make a trust for your family and assets. 

Setting up a trust of any kind can be a simple affair as long as you have the help of an experienced lawyer. But to make things easier for them, make sure that you take these steps before you head to their office. 

List All of Your Assets 

Some people can underestimate the amount of assets they own that need to be distributed appropriately. Property, stocks, and money are assets, but so are prized possessions like jewelry, fine china, and collectibles. 

Making a list of all your assets will be able to give a lawyer a clear picture of your estate. It will also make it easy for you to divide up assets fairly. 

While you are at it, be sure to gather important paperwork like titles, deeds, stock certificates, and life insurance policies in case your lawyer needs them.

Determine Your Beneficiaries 

Do not make the mistake of waiting until you meet with your lawyer to choose your beneficiaries. Take all of the time you need to think about how you want to distribute your assets.

While you are thinking about dividing up your assets, it can be equally important to think about who you would not want to give assets to. If you are going to keep assets from a former spouse or other family members, be sure to bring it up to your lawyer.

Choose Your Successor Trustee

Your successor trustee will pay debts and distribute your assets in accordance with your instructions after you pass. It is also important to remember that they will handle your affairs if you are incapacitated.

That is why it is important to choose someone you trust.

Your successor does not necessarily have to be someone you are related to. It could be a trusted friend, lawyer, or anyone you think could best handle your affairs.

Protect Your Family

Now that you know how to set up a living trust, you are ready to start putting it together.

We are always here to help families make the best decisions for their children’s future. Read how we have helped other families by viewing our testimonials

While you are on our site, be sure to read our blog for other helpful legal and parenting advice.

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