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Idaho Estate Planning and Special Needs Trusts

Idaho estate planning is designed to provide for each individual’s specific needs regardless of their circumstances. This would include the needs of each of person’s family members as well. Oftentimes families will include individuals who have special needs due to disabilities, handicaps, or other physical or mental challenges. Our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys has assisted clients in creating customized estate plans for over 70 years. We have experience in working with our clients and helping them create an estate plan that will provide for and meet the unique needs of family members who have special needs. We are confident that we can help you.

Our team of Idaho estate planning attorneys consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each member of our estate planning team have been awarded the highest possible ratings for their knowledge, ethics and abilities from the most notable legal rating services. These services include Justia, Martindale & Hubbell, and AVVO.

Here are three things you should know about special needs trusts and how they can help you and your family members who may have disabilities.

1. Designed to Protect a Disabled Person

The first thing you should understand is that the specific goal of a Special Needs Trust, which is often referred to as a supplemental needs trust, is to provide protected benefits to a person who has disabilities. These disabilities could be physical, they could be emotional, or they could be mental as well.

Most often we are talking about a person’s child who has special needs. However, a person’s estate plan could really assist and name any individual who would have a special needs situation. This could include siblings, spouses, parents, children or other individuals.

There are two specific purposes behind creating a Special Needs Trust. The first is to protect property for the individual who has the disability so that it can be distributed to them when they need it. What this means is, the individual most likely is not capable of handling the property or money that would be distributed to them. For this reason the trust is created to provide protection for those assets so that they can be distributed to and can benefit the individual who has the special needs well into the future. The goal here is long-term planning.

2. Designed to Provide a Plan of Distribution

The second thing that you need to know about Special Needs Trusts, and the second specific purpose behind creating such a trust, is to establish a protected plan of distribution. Individuals who have a disability are often receiving disability benefits from a state or federal government agency. Often the benefits they receive can be easily lost. There are specific limitations to the amount of money and or property that an individual who’s receiving these types of benefits can personally own at any given time. As a result, if even a modest distribution of money or property is made directly to this individual from your estate after you die, they could lose their disability benefits.

Special Needs Trusts are created with specific language that restricts the ability to distribute money or property directly to the individual who is disabled. By having the protective language in the Special Needs Trust the trustee is able to make distributions that only supplement the needs of the disabled individual without jeopardizing their benefits. When it is setup correctly, a Special Needs Trust allows an individual to continue to receive their normal disability benefits while at the same time providing them with distributions to supplement those benefits.

3. Designed to Avoid Court Supervision

The final thing that you should know about Special Needs Trusts is that they do not require any type of Court supervision. Normally, a person with disabilities will have a legal guardian named for them. If money or property is distributed to the legal guardian and held by them for the benefit of the disabled person they are then required to provide an annual accounting to a Court.

Special Needs Trust gives you the ability to be specific about the person you are naming as the trustee. You would normally choose an individual who is trustworthy and who will carry out your instructions as you provide them in the trust. By avoiding Court supervision you are giving the trustee the discretion and the unfettered ability to carry out the instructions you provided in the trust in a way that will not jeopardize the disability benefits.

Enlist an Idaho Estate Planning Attorney to Help you

Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning needs if your spouse has passed away. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at racine@racinelaw.net. We will answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

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