PLANNING FOR FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
We guide you to ensure your kids (and the money you leave behind for them) are taken care of the people you want in the way you want no matter what, without court interference. This guidance extends to blended families.
Minor children under the age of 18 can not own property in their own name. They need trusts through which the money is handled. As a general rule, the trustee(s) in charge of the trust can make discretionary distributions for support, maintenance, health and education (plus travel, buying a house and/or starting a business?). The Trustee(s) is also required to make mandatory distributions. A common distribution plan is 1/3 at age 25, 1/2 at age 30 and the rest at age 35.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
Estate planning for a family with special needs children comes with a complex set of financial, social and medical issues we can help you handle. We are dedicated to ensuring your child with special needs will be well taken care of when you are no longer able to serve as the primary caregiver.
Most children with special needs will be eligible for governmental benefits. You want to pass on a portion of your estate to your child with special needs without jeopardizing their governmental benefits.
Fortunately, the government allows for assets to be held in a “special needs trust” to provide supplemental resources for the physically, mentally or developmentally disabled child without affecting their eligibility for public healthcare and income assistance benefits. The rules for such trusts are quite complicated and that is where we can help.
In Washington State, we also have the ability to set up ABLE accounts. ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities with the age of onset occurring before the disabled individuals turns 26 years of age. A “qualified disability expense” means any expense related to the disabled individual as a result of living with disabilities. They may include education, food, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology, personal support services, health care expenses, financial management and administrative services and other expenses which help improve health, independence and/or quality of life. We can help you establish such ABLE accounts.
ELDER LAW PLANNING
Whether for yourself or for your aging parents, you want to make the best financial, medical and legal decisions that come with growing older. We can help you develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that your wishes are honored in the future and protect you and your assets if you become incapacitated and required assisted-living or nursing-home care.
There are different strategies for protecting your assets while maintaining eligibility for governmental benefits. One is long-term care insurance. Another strategy is a Medicaid or Veteran Asset Protection Trust, each of which have a penalty look-back penalty period (5 years for Medicaid trusts and 3 years for Veterans Asset Protection Trusts).
ASSET PROTECTION PLANNING
We help you keep everything you have created and earned safe from creditors and other threats to your security, for your family now and for many generations into the future.
WE CREATE THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS TO IMPLEMENT THE ESTATE PLAN
Revocable Living Trusts (often)
Irrevocable Trusts, such as Special Needs Trusts (occasionally)
Durable Powers of Attorney – Health Care and Property/Financial (always)
Healthcare Advance Directives (usually)