Positioning your assets optimally in anticipation of the future is certainly part of what estate planning is all about. However, you would also do well to consider the recipients of your estate. The best way to pass along resources to one family member may not be appropriate for the next.
This is certainly true when it comes to family members with special needs. Some individuals with disabilities require expensive long-term care, and they may need it for extended periods of time. A year-long stay in a private room in a nursing home averaged over $90,000 last year, so we are talking about a very significant sum of money in many instances.
Because of these extraordinary expenses, many people with disabilities rely on Medicaid/Medi-Cal to pay for their care. If you were to leave someone who is receiving these benefits a large sum of money directly, it could impact his or her eligibility because there are upper financial resource limits.
However, you can provide resources that will assist an individual with special needs in an effort to improve his or her quality of life without jeopardizing his or her benefits. There are trusts called supplemental or special needs trusts that are frequently utilized to this end.
Of course, such a trust needs to be carefully constructed so as not to affect benefit eligibility. Should you be interested in the possibility of creating a supplemental trust for the benefit of a loved one, take action right now to arrange for a consultation with a highly qualified San Jose estate planning lawyer.