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It may be beneficial for you to decide whether it would be best for your loved one to receive public assistance benefits, now or in the future. Public assistance can help ensure that your loved one's medical and care needs would be met. Certain benefits may also provide additional income to be used for housing or food. During a meeting, we will discuss the asset and income requirements for each benefit to ensure that your loved one can qualify and/or continues to maintain his or her eligibility. I’ll then facilitate a discussion one each of the benefits to assist you in choosing which benefit(s) is right for your loved one. We will discuss:
A special needs trust can have a two-fold purpose. One purpose is to help your loved one maintain eligibility for public assistance benefits. The other purpose is to make sure that the assets that you would like to leave your loved one are protected and distributed in a manner that you would find satisfactory. It is not the best planning strategy to leave assets to another sibling. Those assets are then exposed to whatever issues may face the sibling including divorce or creditors. Having a special needs trust for your loved one can help ensure that they will not be taken advantage of and the assets are not spent on others. There are three main types of special needs trusts:
Trust administration services include either working with the trustee of the trust, or serving as the trustee of the trust, to ensure that proper distributions are made from the trust. It is necessary to keep accurate accounting records for a special needs trust. It is also imperative that distributions from the trust do not interrupt any public assistance benefits.
It may be necessary to obtain guardianship over your loved one once they turn age 18. Under the law, the individual would be deemed to be an adult and could make their own decisions. If your loved one does not have the capacity to make their own decisions, I can assist with the court process to set up a guardianship.
Help ensure that your loved one is cared for the same way that you would care for your loved one. A letter of intent is a written document that outlines the history of your loved one including anything from health-related matters, to education, to his or her daily habits. It can help ensure that there is a smooth transition from your caregiving to another caregiver.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, created a unique opportunity for those individuals with a disability with onset prior to age 26 to set up tax-advantaged savings accounts that can help pay for qualified disability expenses. An individual can have only one ABLE account. Ohio has set up its own version of the ABLE account called a Stable Account. Contributions to a STABLE account can result in tax advantages for Ohio residents. However, it may not be the best ABLE account for your loved one. I can help guide you through what to look for when choosing an ABLE account. I also recommend looking at www.ablenrc.org for more information regarding ABLE account options.
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