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The Latest from Susan Katzen

Ten Facts to Understand about Living Wills

Posted by Susan Katzen | Sep 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

A living will is not a last will and testament used to pass your assets and property after you die. Instead, it is a mechanism to communicate to your family and doctors how you want medical care conducted when you aren't able. Your living will is an essential part of an estate plan to help you and your family in an emergency. No one will have to guess your choices, which may even prevent quarrels over treatment options to employ during a heightened emotional time.

An Overview of Trusts and the Trustee's Role

Posted by Susan Katzen | Aug 31, 2022 | 0 Comments

No matter where you are in the estate planning process or if you are just starting to consider your options, you probably have questions about how you want your assets distributed and who should be given that responsibility. A trust can be a great tool in your estate planning tool kit. A properly created trust can give you and your family more options and privacy than a will.

Why Disinheriting Your Special Needs Child for Benefit Protection is Unnecessary

Posted by Susan Katzen | Aug 25, 2022 | 0 Comments

Families with special needs children face unique challenges and opportunities to protect their children’s futures. Providing appropriate medical, educational, recreational, and employment opportunities for your special needs child can result in a lifetime of pursuing public and private programs and services. Too often, the parents or persons responsible for financial and medical management of the special needs child receive misguided advice to disinherit them.

Planning for Special Needs Children and Adult Children

Posted by Susan Katzen | Aug 17, 2022 | 0 Comments

What are special needs? Special needs is a specific disability type requiring focused attention on education for those with learning difficulties, behavioral or emotional problems, or physical disabilities. For example, individuals with autism, ADHD, Asperger syndrome, Down syndrome, dyscalculia, dyslexia, deafness, blindness, and cystic fibrosis fall into the special needs category, as do cleft lips, missing limbs, and more. The US government combines this group into the overall classification of disability, and current US Census data estimates the US disabled population to be 12.7 percent or 41.1 million individuals.

Fund a Special Needs Trust with Life Insurance

Posted by Susan Katzen | Aug 10, 2022 | 0 Comments

The parents of a special needs child have unique responsibilities when looking to the future care of their child. Funding a special needs trust (SNT) with life insurance is one of the most important things you can do to provide additional monies while protecting eligibility for government benefit programs. Life insurance policies provide special needs families and their children comfort and security. If families experience future financial setbacks (one or both parents die early, lessening wealth accumulation), money will still be available for their child’s future.

Naming a Special Needs Child as a Beneficiary of an IRA or Retirement Plan in a Trust

Posted by Susan Katzen | Aug 04, 2022 | 0 Comments

Leaving behind assets to benefit a child with special needs requires careful planning to protect their needs-based government benefits. It is also important to protect those assets against later claims after your death and, in some cases, during your lifetime, for additional available public benefits such as Medicaid. Many parents choose to set up a special needs trust for their child with a disability, but can you put beneficiary-named accounts in this trust? A lot of wealth may be in your IRA and 401(k) that requires naming a beneficiary. Know the risks when naming your special needs trust as a beneficiary of your retirement accounts.

Five Must-have Legal Documents

Posted by Susan Katzen | Jul 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

An estate plan is necessary for all Americans who want to protect themselves and their families. Making sound decisions regarding finances and healthcare can become challenging as you age due to diminished mental capacity or declining health. Putting these five must-have legal documents in place before life becomes too difficult to handle is crucial for your protection and wishes. It is not legally permissible for you to create these documents if you are too far into ill health, and guardianship will become necessary for decision-making on your behalf. Retaining a trusted elder law attorney is the first step to setting these legal guidelines to carry out your wishes.

Regularly Review Your Estate Plan to Avoid These Common Mistakes

Posted by Susan Katzen | Jul 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

Many Americans perceive estate planning as a one-time chore that, once accomplished, can be filed away until their death. However, without being aware of the potential impact, people will make gifts during their lifetime or change listed beneficiaries on accounts which can have enormous unintended consequences on their will or trust. Review your estate plan regularly to help to prevent these common mistakes.

Ten Tips to Consider for Special Needs Planning

Posted by Susan Katzen | Jul 14, 2022 | 0 Comments

Careful planning for the future of a loved one with special needs is one of the most critical life-protecting tasks you will ever provide for them. This article offers tips you can employ in your planning process can create a meaningful and comprehensive approach, addressing many of the challenges of special needs family members without negatively influencing eligibility for government programs or other loved ones you are providing for in your estate plan.

Special Needs Guardianships – the Basics Part 2

Posted by Susan Katzen | Jul 07, 2022 | 0 Comments

Once you understand how guardianship is intended to help a special needs adult, you must understand the key responsibilities a guardian plays within their legal role. Guardian duties vary depending on the protected person’s limitations and abilities. However, some general responsibilities tend to fall to all guardians

Special Needs Guardianships – The Basics Part 1

Posted by Susan Katzen | Jun 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

Protecting and providing for your children is particularly challenging if they have special needs requiring additional care to address their vulnerabilities. Structuring your estate plan to include the appropriate legal documents in the event of your death is crucial, especially when naming a guardian. Special needs children often require guardianship past the age of 18. However, if your child reaches the age of adulthood (18 years old in most states), as a parent, you need to apply for legal guardianship to make decisions on behalf of your adult child.

Estate Planning is for Everyone, No Matter Your Age

Posted by Susan Katzen | Jun 23, 2022 | 0 Comments

What do comes to mind when you hear the words estate planning? If you think of old people with many assets, you are not alone. It is a common misconception that estate planning is only something done by people who are old or rich, or both. Estate planning is actually for everyone, and the earlier in life you start planning for your future, the better.

Life Insurance Policies and Special Needs Children

Posted by Susan Katzen | May 19, 2022 | 0 Comments

There are two main ways to use life insurance if a special needs child is in your family. In one situation, parents may consider purchasing life insurance for their child's life, addressing the possibility of outliving them. Alternatively, parents may use a life insurance policy in a trust as part of their estate planning; knowing their child with special needs is an enormous priority to safeguard after they have died.

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts

Posted by Susan Katzen | May 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

People who have loved ones with disabilities and need a way to save money tax-free often create a special needs trust (SNT) to supplement their loved one’s unique requirements and quality of life while continuing their eligibility for public assistance programs. In 2014, the ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) became a second financial vehicle permitting a disabled individual to accumulate resources with tax advantages but not jeopardize key federally funded benefit programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).

Estate Planning Tips for Parents with Children of Special Needs

Posted by Susan Katzen | May 06, 2022 | 0 Comments

Children with a wide variety of special needs (disabilities) can live more productive lives than ever before with today's medicine and health care advancements. Many scientists regard the term special needs as a euphemism for disability. Yet, the difference between the two terms is primarily one of acceptance and preference as both terms describe the four major types of disability: physical, developmental, sensory impaired, and behavioral/emotional.

Writing a Letter of Intent For Your Special Needs Child

Posted by Susan Katzen | Apr 28, 2022 | 0 Comments

Writing a letter of intent (LOI) for your special needs child can help bring them family continuity and comfort after you are gone. As a parent, the most valuable asset your child has is you and your ability to care for them. You, like no other, fully understand the nuances of your child’s coping mechanisms and what can trigger adverse outcomes.

Special Needs Planning and Your Estate

Posted by Susan Katzen | Apr 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

Third-party special needs trusts sometimes referred to as supplemental needs trusts, are estate planning tools for those parents of children with mental/physical disabilities and the elderly. This type of trust will receive assets from you or another benefactor expressly for that person with a disability.

Understanding Special Needs Planning

Posted by Susan Katzen | Apr 18, 2022 | 0 Comments

Let’s take a look at planning for disabled people to live their best lives. Family money can be carefully managed to fit the disability-benefit rules and still provide additional perks for the disabled person to enjoy. And, though the rules can be strict, disabled people are still permitted autonomy to own some money for their personal use and yet retain their valuable benefits.

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