Although it's fairly commonplace to see stories in the news or on television about how things can go wrong at the end of life without an estate plan being in place, there are still an estimated 55 to 65 percent of Americans who don't have even in a will in place. Many don't because they think they don't have enough assets to leave behind for anyone. Others think estate planning is too complex.
If someone in your home receives government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they're either physically or mentally impaired, then it's likely that you've heard a special needs trust. While government programs like Medicaid are intended to cover an individual's basic needs, they don't cover "creature comforts" that we'll all come to enjoy having access to.
When many people think about drafting a will, they often think that the process involves simply taking their assets that they intend for their loved ones to inherit and writing them down alongside the names of the individuals that they want them to go to.
Our lives are not infinite. They can end unexpectedly in a mere instant. Unless we have certain end-of-life documents properly executed and easily accessible by our family members, our loss may not only result in creating an emotional void in our loved one's lives, but a financial one as well.
A survey conducted by Caring.com in 2016 showed that only 56 percent of Americans questioned had either a living trust or will in place at the time.
If you take care of someone with special needs, then it's important for you to start thinking about how you'd like him or her to be taken care of in the future if something were to happen to you. It's particularly important that if he or she either plans to or is already receiving government benefits, that a special needs trust (SNT) be set up to ensure that can happen.
When it comes to revocable trusts, many look to them as a way of not having to pay as much in taxes. They offer quite a bit more in terms of benefits, though.
Are you looking to plan your estate soon? If so, then you may wish to consider including an "in terrorem," or no-contest, clause when drafting either your will or living trust documents.
If you have a disabled family member, then you likely are aware that government subsidies awarded by both the state and federal government aren't intended to allow him or her to live overly comfortably. Instead, they're only intended to ensure that his or her basic needs are covered just over the poverty line.
As is the case with most states, in order for a will to be considered legally enforceable in New York, §§3-1.1 of the estates and trusts state code notes that the individual executing it must be of both "sound mind" and at least 18.