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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
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Trust options can help provide for disabled family members

Estate planning can be a complex process. Identifying assets and making determinations for how to distribute those assets after ones death often involves a lot of planning and some time. It should also be done in conjunction with making plans for how to fund ones life up until the point of death. Topics such as long term care would be important in this arena. Everyone has a different set of circumstances and, therefore, estate planning, is never a black-and-white activity.

For people with a special needs child or other family member, estate planning has some clear unique needs and opportunities. The Social Security Act allows trusts to be set up for anyone identified as “disabled”. There are three common types of trusts that can be effective in a special needs situation. 

A pooled trust allows those with limited assets to put those assets into a trust with others. A third-party non-profit organization would manage the trust and its distribution. A first-party trust, also called a self-settled trust can see assets going to the government if the disabled beneficiary dies while assets remain in the trust. A third-party trust prevents this from happening, making it clearly different from the first-party trust.

Having a solid estate plan in place to care for a loved one with special needs is the best way to ensure their care after you are gone. Will planning and trust creation should be done carefully with the best interests of your disabled beneficiary in mind. This includes appropriate identification of a trustee and contingent trustee. Working with an estate planning attorney will ensure that your trust is appropriately created and managed. 

Source: The Fiscal Times, “Estate planning guide for a special needs child’,” Sonya Stinson, July 10, 2013

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