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Including Heirs with Special Needs in Your Arizona Estate Plan

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Arizona Estate Planning, Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys, Special Needs Beneficiaries, Special Needs Trust

For Arizona families with loved ones with special needs, estate planning takes on an even greater significance. Creating a plan that guarantees your loved one’s financial security and well-being after you’re gone requires careful consideration. This blog post explores the unique challenges and strategies involved in naming heirs with special needs in your estate plan.

Challenges of Inheritance for Special Needs Beneficiaries
  • Government Benefits: Inheriting assets outright can disqualify a beneficiary from receiving critical government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. For example, Arizona has an asset cap of $2,000 for individuals applying for Medicaid coverage for a nursing home. Having an inheritance given to them outright can jeopardize their eligibility for this coverage without proper planning and guidance.
  • Financial Management: Individuals with special needs may not be equipped to manage large sums of money independently.
Planning Strategies & Benefits of Planning Ahead

Here are some ways to ensure your loved one with special needs is cared for:

  • Special Needs Trust:

    Establish a trust that holds inherited assets for your beneficiary’s benefit. The trustee manages the funds and distributes them to meet your loved one’s needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. If drafted correctly, a special needs trust can be a valuable tool for maintaining benefits eligibility.

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your loved one will be financially secure and well-cared for offers peace of mind.
  • Preserving Benefits: Special needs trusts ensure your loved one can maintain their government benefits while accessing resources from your estate.
  • Clarity and Direction: A well-defined estate plan minimizes confusion and potential disputes among family members.
Our Role as Estate Planning Attorneys

Our Arizona estate planning attorneys with experience in special needs planning can:

  • Draft a Special Needs Trust: We can create a customized trust that complies with Arizona law and ensures your loved one’s eligibility for government benefits.
  • Advise on Guardianship: If applicable, we can guide you through the process of designating a guardian and ensure the legal documents are properly drafted.
  • Coordinate with Financial Advisors: We frequently collaborate with financial advisors to develop a comprehensive plan for your loved one’s long-term care.
Building a Secure Future for Your Loved One

Estate planning for a loved one with special needs requires specific considerations. By working with our qualified Arizona estate planning attorneys here at Windrose Law Center, you can create a plan that provides financial security, preserves government benefits, and ensures your loved one receives the care and dignity they deserve.