Wills & Trusts

Why Create a Will?

Most people believe that you only need a Will to direct distribution of property upon your death. We can help your Will accomplish much more than that. Did you know that a Will can also address:

  • Differences between your wishes and state intestacy laws
  • Naming a guardian for minor children
  • Creating a trust and naming a trustee to handle the estate on behalf of minor children or grandchildren
  • Establishing a Supplemental Needs Trusts for your spouse, disabled children or loved ones
  • Ensuring continuity of government benefits to surviving spouses, partners or children
  • Preserving assets while continuing Medicaid or other Long-Term Care benefits
  • Avoiding unnecessary taxes and state liens
  • From the minute you become a client, we are 100% devoted to helping you plan for the future as you have envisioned it. It is more than a Will – it is a way forward.

Who Benefits Most from a Trust?

There are many different types of trusts, but the ones you will most often see associated with Estate Planning are a Revocable Living Trust and a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust.

Special or Supplemental Needs Trust

For the most part, the terms “Special” Needs Trust and “Supplemental” Needs Trust are interchangeable.  If you have a loved one with special needs and you want to ensure your loved one will be taken care of when you are no longer able, we will help you establish a plan.

  • Allows disabled persons who are currently receiving or expect to receive government benefits to preserve those benefits, while also allowing for additional funds available for the benefit of the Trust beneficiary
  • May be set up as a Living Trust (intervivos) or a Testamentary (through one’s Will) Trust
  • Parents of a disabled child or other family members with a disabled loved one may provide additional funds to supplement government benefits
  • Persons who have been severely injured and receive a personal injury settlement or award must establish a Special Needs Trust to preserve those funds and remain eligible for government benefits
  • For individuals facing Long-Term Care needs, a Testamentary Supplemental Needs Trust will allow the surviving spouse to benefit from the deceased spouse’s assets, yet not interfere with Medicaid Long-Term Care eligibility requirements

Revocable Living Trust

  • Arranges for management and distribution of property
  • Can be revoked, canceled or changed during your lifetime
  • Assets are transferred to a trustee and administered according to detailed instructions
  • Can help avoid guardianship proceedings
  • Does not provide any protections from creditors to grantor (you or person establishing the trust), but does afford some protections from creditors to beneficiaries of the trust
  • If properly funded, may avoid probate procedures
  • Can save ancillary costs and probate fees if you own real estate outside of your resident state and properly transfer those assets to the trust
  • Cannot protect assets in the event you may need Medicaid Long-Term Care benefits
  • For example, in Washington the only way spouses can protect assets for the benefit of the surviving spouse is through a Will that contains a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust (testamentary trust)

NOTE: If you or your spouse have a Revocable Living Trust, you are not taking advantage of the most useful asset protection tool available to spouses.