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Thursday, March 25, 2021

Creating an Estate Plan to Protect Special Needs Beneficiaries

If you have a loved one with special needs, you’re probably concerned about what will happen to him or her after you’re gone. After all, people with special needs often require extensive assistance in their day-to-day lives. In addition, many special needs people are unable to support themselves financially. Luckily, you can take care of all of this and more with a Michigan estate plan. By establishing an estate plan, you can ensure that your loved one will receive the support he or she needs for years to come.

Protect Special Needs Beneficiaries with These Tips

Below are some tips for creating an estate plan to protect special needs beneficiaries:

Establish a special needs trust: A special needs trust is a specialized trust that friends and family members of a person with special needs can fund without jeopardizing that person’s eligibility for means-tested government assistance programs.

Minimize court intervention: When you prepare a special needs trust (and an estate plan in general), it’s a good idea to avoid or minimize court intervention. Often, once a matter goes to court, the court will be able to have a say regarding your family member’s care. In addition, courtroom litigation is financially burdensome and time-consuming for everyone involved. Therefore, you should establish the special needs trust during your lifetime, not in your will, as special needs trusts created by will are usually subject to intervention by the court.

Fund the special needs trust from non-retirement assets: For a variety of reasons, retirement accounts are a less-than-ideal method of funding a special needs trust. Therefore, if possible, you should fund the special needs trust that you establish for your family member from non-retirement assets.

Choose a trustee: This may be the most important decision you will make in setting up a special needs trust. When selecting a trustee, you should choose someone who is competent and loyal. Once appointed, the trustee can hire attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, bookkeepers, and others to administer the trust. Therefore, it’s imperative to choose someone you can count on.

Include special needs considerations in all of your estate planning documents: Planning for your family member’s future goes beyond establishing a special needs trust. Be sure to take your family member’s special needs into consideration when executing other estate planning documents.


An experienced Michigan estate planning attorney will be able to advise you on the types of estate planning tools that are the most appropriate for your unique situation.

Contact Our Experienced Michigan Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you would like to establish an estate plan for a loved one with special needs, you need the help of an experienced Michigan estate planning attorney. A Michigan estate planning attorney will help you craft an estate plan that ensures your loved one is fully protected. If you are ready to begin the Michigan estate planning process, please contact us today for a free and confidential initial consultation.

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