Disabled Child

Madeline has two children, is healthy, and wishes to plan for her estate. She is concerned, however, that she has to disinherit her one son, William, who was born with a disability.

She has always cared for William in the family home, and will continue to do so as long as she is able, but recognizes she may not always be there for him. Without her, he will not be able to continue to live at home, but Madeline doesn’t want William to have to live only on the meager amount that Social Security provides monthly.

However, she does not have enough money to support him for the rest of his life, and leaving money to him presents two problems. First, William cannot handle the money himself. Second, he would lose his income and medical benefits because he will have too much money to continue to be eligible for these public benefits. She is concerned about leaving all of the assets to her other son, John, with the understanding that he will utilize half of the estate on William’s behalf, because she does not trust his wife and because John has consistently had debt problems.

A former client of ours tells her that she may not have to disinherit her son, and that there is a better way to set up her estate, so she contacts our office. After the benefits that William is receiving is determined, it is explained to Madeline that a trust can be established for the benefit of William to provide for the supplemental needs not provided by Social Security and Medicaid. Properly drafted, the trust will not disqualify William from his current benefits. John can be named trustee of the trust without his creditors having any interest in or right to attach the trust. The trust funds will be sufficient to provide a quality of life for William for the remainder of his life. Madeline has the trust created and funded, affording her peace of mind that her estate is in order.