Kiplinger: “The ABLE Act of 2014—the acronym stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience—allowed people of any age who developed a qualifying disability before age 26 (or their parents, relatives or friends) to invest up to $15,000 per year in an account that they can tap tax-free. Now, four years later, 36 states and the District of Columbia offer ABLE plans, and more states are joining their ranks. Texas introduced its ABLE program in May, and plans in California and several other states are on the way soon.”
Schiff Hardin: “Life is more complicated for families who have a loved one with a disability. From finding the right medical professionals and the right schools or other programs, to obtaining necessary therapies and services, people with disabilities face additional steps, extra time, and a need for specialized knowledge at every stage of life. In addition to facing these stresses, families may receive misinformation, which makes decision-making more difficult. While the development of an estate plan can be difficult for any family, for a family of a person with a disability, the planning, as with all things, has added complexity. Primary caretakers of a loved one with a disability routinely wonder who will care for, love, and financially support their family member when they are gone.”
Market Watcher: “An approximately $30 trillion transfer of wealth is currently under way in the U.S. as aging baby boomers pass their assets to successive generations.This transfer, together with the recent increase to the lifetime federal estate and gift tax exemption (to $11.18 million in 2018), has created a favorable situation for U.S. citizens and residents seeking to transfer wealth to their loved ones during lifetime and at death. Despite the encouraging estate planning horizon, we still see many who make common mistakes which can thwart their intentions.“
Caring.com: “Sundown syndrome is a term that describes the onset of confusion and agitation that generally affects people with dementia or cognitive impairment and usually strikes around sunset. Many people, though, use the term to loosely describe increased agitation and confusion that can occur anytime but may be more noticeable in the late afternoon or early evening.”
Washington Post : “Michael Joyce’s memory, and some of his speech have been snatched by Alzheimer’s. The disease is so advanced that he forgot he was married to his wife of 38 years. But he is in love with her, and he is also an honorable man, so he proposed to her on a recent morning. She said yes.”
Examiner.com: “A traditional estate planning directive like a simple will or a trust with outright distributions doesn’t work well for a person with special needs that is now, or may be in the future, receiving government benefits. In fact, it may cause that individual to be ineligible for benefits, and that could be disastrous.
Planning for a person with special needs requires knowledge of the various benefit programs, their rules and restrictions and the planning directives that work best to preserve benefits. The outright receipt of a gift or inheritance, either intentionally or accidentally, can jeopardize benefits. Well meaning family members and some well meaning professionals can (and unfortunately have) caused a friend or family member with special needs to lose their benefits.”
Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog: Twelve percent of the U.S. population has a severe mental or physical disability, according to United State Census data. Additionally, two-thirds of caregivers do not have a plan for the future support of the disabled individual they care for. Three tips for planning for the future support of disabled heirs
Estate of Denial: Deciding how to leave your assets to your kids is tricky enough. If your adult child has a chronic disability, the task is much more complicated.
The issue affects many families: According to U.S. Census data, 12% of the population has a severe mental or physical disability.
Strapped state and local governments are tightening income restrictions for medical benefits and supportive services, which are typically paid for by Social Security and Medicaid. Those services are tough to find—or afford—in the private sector for many adults with disabilities so severe that they can’t live alone, parents and advocates say.
World News Report: Relatives of people with special needs often worry about who will care for their
disabled loved ones when they are gone. One way that concerned family members can plan for their disabled relatives’ futures is by creating a Special Needs Trust. But, people need careful estate planning
to make sure that such trusts do not disqualify their loved ones from receiving public benefits, either at the time they establish the special needs trust or in the future should the trust beneficiary get money from another source.
Special Needs Trusts
A special needs trust is a flexible estate planning tool that can fund a broad array of things under the term “special needs,” including medical care and products as well as a variety of measures that enhance quality of life like adaptive equipment for communication, adapted vehicles, special education or
training and higher-expense nursing homes.
Wall St. Journal: “Gabe Molitor is no ordinary trust-fund kid: He has epilepsy and Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. His mother, Shelby Valentine, recently set up what’s known as a special-needs trust, which will provide funding to pay for some of her 30-year-old son’s expenses when Ms. Valentine and her husband are no longer able to care for him. . . . ‘It was such a relief,’ says Ms. Valentine. ‘It gives him a better quality of life after we are gone.’ Parents of children with special needs often face years of expensive care for their children. Now a growing number of financial-services companies, lawyers and financial planners — often calling themselves “special-needs planners” — are springing up to help parents provide for kids with disabilities, especially when parents are no longer alive to provide care. These professionals guide families through the intricate maze of federal and state programs for disabled individuals, and help set up trusts, insurance policies, retirement plans and estate-planning documents.