If you have recently decided that you need an estate plan, congratulations! You are one step closer to preserving the financial future of your family. However, it is important to understand that, when it comes to estate plans, one size does not always fit all. In fact, there are many situations that may require special consideration. The following are a couple of common issues that families need to address in their estate plans. For more detailed information about your situation, contact a wills lawyer.
Special Needs Children
Children who have special needs are often entitled to government benefits to help ensure their medical and daily care needs are met. Unfortunately, when parents, siblings, or other family members leave them behind an improperly planned inheritance, their benefits can be placed at risk.
Without a qualified special needs trust, should a special needs person receive resources greater than two thousand dollars or have income that exceeds three times the federal poverty limit, they would lose their eligibility for SSI and Medicaid. Furthermore, requalification would necessitate that the individual depletes their financial resources in order to be able to eligible for reinstatement of those public benefits.
Rather than enhance their lives, the inheritance ends up being spent on their daily needs. Parents and loved ones can avoid this risk by taking the time to speak with an attorney about the child’s specific needs.
Today’s modern family often includes children from previous marriages or stepchildren. Unfortunately, what a lot of parents and stepparents do not know is that assets do not automatically go to step-children or to children from previous marriages. Instead, they go to the surviving spouse. And, unless a surviving spouse has made provisions for their stepchildren, those assets will go only to the surviving spouse’s biological children or heirs. The only exceptions to this rule are when a stepparent has either adopted the children as their own, or provisions have been made for the children in either or both of their parents’ wills.
There are a number of ways that parents can provide for stepchildren or natural children left behind with a stepparent. They can set up a special trust, or they can simply ensure that both wills include provisions for the children. An attorney can help you decide which options may be most appropriate for your family’s situation.
Contact an Estate Planning Law Firm
Wills are just one part of an estate plan. Many people also set up trusts, draft power of attorneys, and more. If you would like to find out what type of estate planning tools would be beneficial for your family, a wills lawyer can help. For help with your estate plan, contact a skilled attorney, like a wills lawyer from the Law Firm of Iowa. Take the steps to make sure your family is protected when you are no longer here.