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Elgin special needs trust lawyersOver the course of your life, you are likely to save money and acquire assets, and you will probably want to use these resources to provide for the needs of your loved ones. This is particularly true if you have any family members who are disabled or have special needs, since you will want to do everything you can to ensure that they will always be taken care of. However, simply gifting funds to a person or naming them as a beneficiary in your will can actually have some negative effects. To ensure that a beneficiary will continue to have the resources they need, you should consider passing your assets to them through a special needs trust. In some cases, you may also want to use this type of trust to provide for your own needs, especially as you reach an advanced age.

Public Benefits and Special Needs Trusts

A person with a disability will often be eligible to receive certain types of public aid, such as Medicare, Medicaid, public housing, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, this type of aid is only available if a person meets certain requirements. Typically, the total value of the assets they own must fall below a certain threshold, and they will be limited to a certain amount of income earned per month. If a person who receives any of these benefits is named as the beneficiary of significant assets, this could make them ineligible for one or more types of public benefits.

To ensure that a beneficiary will continue to be able to receive public aid, a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust can be created. The assets in this type of trust will be in the control of a trustee, so they will not be considered part of the total assets owned by the person with special needs. The beneficiary can then receive regular payments from the trust that will be used to provide for needs that are not covered by public benefits. Since public aid is intended to pay for a person’s daily needs, including food, housing, and clothing, payments from the trust can be used for other purposes, such as transportation, furniture and household items, education, entertainment, and cell phone or internet service.

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Elgin tax planning lawyerThe federal government recently passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which has ushered in major changes to tax laws that will affect nearly every business and individual taxpayer. It is critical to understand these sweeping changes so that you can anticipate your tax burden each year.

According to the Tax Policy Center, under the TCJA, approximately 67% of taxpayers will owe less taxes, 25% will have no change in their taxes, and 7% percent will owe more taxes. However, this may not mean that taxpayers will receive a refund next April.

For most, whether a refund is issued depends on how much tax one pays through income withholding. Experts predict that because the government has reduced the withholding amounts to reflect the reduced taxes, between one third and one half of taxpayers may have a balance due with their next tax return.

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Protecting Your Assets Through Sound Estate Planning

Elgin estate planning and asset protection lawyerThe start of a new year is an appropriate time to devote focus to ensuring that your finances are in order for both the short and long term. This due diligence requires that you give adequate consideration to every resource capable of aiding you and your family in the protection of your assets. Besides savings accounts, IRAs, 401(k)s, and investments in the stock market, estate planning is a tremendous resource in matters of asset protection. Devoting time now to careful estate planning focused on finances related to your business, health, and family can make all the difference in the future, allowing your intentions with regard to your assets to be followed correctly.

How Assets May Be at Risk

Three primary risks faced by assets are:

  • Government taxation
  • Commingling of business and personal assets
  • Capacity-related issues

As you may be aware from following recent political and legislative news, estate taxes are a subject of ongoing debate. Until recently, the federal exemption limit for estate taxes was roughly $5.6 million. This limit has been doubled under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act, thereby prompting appropriate adjustments in individual estate planning. Importantly, however, the Tax Cut and Jobs Act concerns the federal exemption. Sound planning also requires that one account for the Illinois state level estate tax exemption, which is currently limited to approximately $4.0 million.

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Using a Special Needs Trust to Benefit Heirs With Disabilities

Elgin special needs trust lawyerThe holiday season is a time to think of giving – of summoning the charitable impulses and good intentions that bring out the very best version of oneself. It is a time to be grateful for life’s blessings and to reach out and help those who are less fortunate. In doing so, estate planning is a powerful resource in helping others, whether they be family, friends, charities, or individuals in need in a local, regional, national, or global community. 

Estate planning is synonymous with wills and trusts. With regard to the latter, it is possible to create a special needs trust to benefit a disabled individual in your life.

A Trust is a Powerful and Flexible Asset Management Tool 

A trust is a legal agreement that designates both an individual to assume the role of “trustee” and one or more individuals as “beneficiaries.” A trustee will manage your property on behalf of designated beneficiaries at the time of your death or, if you become incapacitated, while you are still living but are no longer able to manage your property on your own. 

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Estate Planning and the Importance of a Trust Administration Attorney

Elgin estate planning lawyer trust administrationFor most people in the United States, it takes hard work and smart planning to save money and build assets throughout their lives. The effort and thoughtfulness does not stop there, however, if you intend to ensure that your family, loved ones, or valued charitable organizations will see the maximum benefit of your work and planning for the longest possible duration. Estate planning is a necessity for protecting your assets and realizing your intentions with regard to the distribution of your assets, whether during your lifetime or after your death. 

Just as you trust an accountant to assist with the finances of your business, a tax professional to assist with personal or business taxes, and investment experts to grow your assets at the pace and risk level which is right for you and your family, you can rely on an estate planning attorney to create a legally binding will or trust and follow the proper procedures for administering your estate.

Details are Many in Matters of Trust Administration

Much of the process of estate planning is concerned with transferring your assets to your heirs smoothly, without conflict, and with the minimum taxation allowed by law. It is a simple idea – you want your family, loved ones, and favorite charities to benefit as much as possible. While your intentions may be straightforward, however, the legal requirements for creating and administering a trust to transfer your assets to your heirs can be quite complex. 

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