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Painter and Associates Blog

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Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts are established to provide for our loved ones with disabilities. These trusts are useful because they allow the beneficiary (the person the trust is set up for) to continue to receive benefits they may be collecting from the government.

There are many different types of special needs trusts, each with a unique set of factors and restrictions. While this makes the decision a bit more complex, it also offers some variety so that families can pick the option that works best for them. Below is a table displaying the different issues to consider when choosing the asset. These decisions can seem daunting, but we need to make sure we take care of those who are most important to us, and the experienced attorneys at Painter & Associates are here to help you.

Issues

STABLE Account

Discretionary Supplemental Needs Trust

Supplemental Services Trust

Special Needs Trust

Pooled Trust

Who can create the asset?

Person with disability, legal guardian, conservator, or agent

3rd party

Anyone

Person with disability, parent, grandparent, guardian, or Court

Person with disability, parent, grandparent, guardian, or Court

Who can use the asset?

Only persons disabled before age 26

Any person

Beneficiary qualifying for services through State Department of Disabilities or County Board of Developmental Disabilities or Department of Mental Health and Additional Services

Disabled individual under the age of 65

Any disabled individual

Who can fund the asset?

Anyone

3rd party

3rd Party

Anyone

Anyone

How many can a person have?

One

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Who can control the asset?

Person with disability, legal guardian, conservator, or agent

Trustee who is not the person with a disability or their spouse must have complete discretion

Trustee who is not the person with a disability or their spouse

Trustee who is not the person with a disability or their spouse

Nonprofit organization must serve as the Trustee

How much can be paid into the asset per year?

$15,000 per year

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Unlimited

Is there a cap on how much can be in the account?

Yes,
SSI Recipients - $100,000 limitation and amounts over are included as resources
Max lifetime limit of $462,000

No

The principal contribution must not exceed $246,000

No

No

What type of distributions can be made?

"Qualified Disability Expenses" which include basic living expenses, housing, transportation, education, assistive technology, employment training, legal fees, health and wellness, and financial management

Distributions for things not covered by Medicaid or SSI (cannot be used for medical care, comfort, maintenance, health, welfare, or general well-being); and at a complete discretion of the Trustee.

Distributions only for services not already received by qualifying programs and are above and beyond the basic necessities. Distributions may be made for travel, vacation, participation in hobbies, sports, exercise equipment, memberships, etc.

Distributions only for things that public benefits do not cover

Distributions for things not covered by Medicaid or SSI

How are funds disbursed upon death of person with disability

- Qualified Disability Expenses
- Funeral and Burial costs
- Medicaid reimbursement for amounts paid after account was opened
- Heirs

Funds may be preserved for another beneficiary and with proper drafting, funds will not have to be turned over to the State

Not less than 50% of the assets must be returned the State of Ohio to be used for the benefits of others who do not have such a trust

State reimbursed for 100% of medical assistance paid on behalf of beneficiary, if available

State reimbursed for 100% of medical assistance paid on behalf of beneficiary, if available

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Start Your Estate Planning

Still don’t have an estate plan?

With the new year, it’s time to begin planning for your loved ones should something happen to you. We have reviewed why estate plans are for everyone in an earlier post

As a reminder, an estate plan may include one or all of the following depending on your needs:

- A will

In a will, you state who you want to inherit your property and name a guardian for your young children should something happen to both parents.

- Assignment of power of attorney

With a power of attorney, you can give a trust person authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs. 

- A living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney)

Writing out your wishes for health care can protect you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. 

- A trust

If you hold your property in a living trust, then your survivors won’t have to go through probate court, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

Nobody enjoys estate planning, but it is necessary.  The first step is to make a list of all of your assets and goals before talking to an attorney.  Your assets include investments, retirement accounts, insurance policies, business interests, real estate and more. 

Next decide what you want to achieve with those assets and who should inherit them.  This is also a great time to think about the person that would the best to handle your business affairs should something happen to you. Many people assign this duty to a spouse or an outside financial or legal advisor who can act as a neutral third party. 

Then it is time to meet with a trusted estate lawyer who can prepare all the necessary legal documents and help you think through the best scenarios for all of your assets including protecting you and your heirs from heavy tax fees. 

The most important step is to discuss your plans with your heirs. This is the best way for everyone to understand your goals and intentions so there will be less chance for confusion and arguing when you are gone. 

Finally, don’t forget to have your estate plan updated should there be a change in your financial situation, marital status, addition of children, etc.  Your lawyer will act as your legal partner to make sure all documents needed are also up to date with the latest state and federal laws. 

For more in-depth information about estate planning, contact one of our experienced attorneys.

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Estate Planning is for Everyone

Estate Planning is for Everyone

Do you think that estate planning is only for the extremely wealthy?

Do you think you are not old enough to worry about what happens after you are gone?

Are you comfortable with the court managing the distribution of your assets?

You may not have given it much thought or are avoiding the topic altogether because it seems overwhelming, but - Estate planning is for everyone.

Basically, estate planning is making a plan in advance and naming whom you want to receive the things you own after you die. No matter what your net worth, it is important to have a basic estate plan in place.

An estate plan contains:

  • A will

    In a will, you state who you want to inherit your property and name a guardian for your young children should something happen to both parents.
  • Assignment of power of attorney

    With a power of attorney, you can give a trust person authority to handle your finances and property if you become incapacitated and unable to handle your own affairs.
  • A living will or health-care proxy (medical power of attorney)

    Writing out your wishes for health care can protect you if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself.
  • A trust

    If you hold your property in a living trust, then your survivors won’t have to go through probate court, which can be a time-consuming and expensive process.

Discussing your estate plans with your family may also help prevent disputes or confusions. Inheritances can be a loaded issue. By being clear about your intentions, you help dispel potential conflicts after you are gone. The best benefit to the process is your peace of mind. Making sure you have a properly prepared plan in place will give you and your family piece of mind.

This is one of the best things you can do for those you love. For more in-depth information about estate planning, contact one of our experienced attorneys. You can also learn more at estateplanning.com.

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Nathan D. Painter founded Painter & Associates to provide legal services he believes every client deserves: access to large-firm experience and talent with a highly personalized approach that keeps each client’s individual legal needs top of mind.


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