I have very little in assets do I still need a Will?
Of course you should. Despite having limited assets, they are the assets that you have accumulated during your life and no one, including yourself, should diminish that fact. It is important that your wishes concerning these assets are met upon your death and having a properly prepared and signed Will can only ensure this.
I have an old Will, should it be updated?
Your will should definitely be reviewed by both you, and your attorney to make certain that it still meets your needs and that no laws have changed that may make certain parts of it ineffective. A review of your Will should probably take place every five years, although this does not mean that it will necessarily have to be changed. Circumstances change, relationships evolve or dissolve, and laws change too, and these are all considerations that must be taken into account when reviewing your Will.
Do I need a lawyer to prepare my Will?
You know that I am going to answer this question in the affirmative since this is what I do for a living; however, it really is the case for a number of reasons. If you are going to the trouble of writing a Will you want to make sure that it is correct and does what you intend for it to do. In addition, if someone is doing something that is not “standard”, the supervision of the execution of a Will by an attorney is an important element since it will shift burdens of proof concerning the proper execution of the Will. Although this seems very technical and probably way beyond your interest in this topic, it is important and helps and goes a long way towards ensuring that your wishes are met.
What is a supplemental needs trust?
When a special needs child is a member of your family, specific financial provisions need to be made for them. Unlike when dealing with other beneficiaries, certain considerations must be taken into account to ensure that the needs of these children are met and that your money is protected for their benefit throughout the course of their lives. As part of my job I assist clients in protecting their assets for their special needs children by making them understand the advantages of a supplemental needs trusts.
A supplemental needs trust also sometimes referred to as a “special needs trust”, is (not surprisingly) a trust established either during a person’s lifetime or at the time of their death (through the use of a Will). These kinds of trusts have particular provisions to protect assets for the benefit of someone who is receiving some form of governmental assistance as a result of their incapacity or disability. Specifically, the purpose of these kinds of trusts is to ensure that money that is set aside for someone receiving governmental assistance (SSI, Medicaid) will not disqualify them or make them ineligible for continued benefits. In other words the idea is to preserve the assets that you want to set aside to be used for supplemental needs and luxury items for the beneficiary that are not provided by governmental programs.
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