Estate planning is difficult and complex. And when estate planning in NJ, you’ll need to take extra precautions due to the state’s high estate taxes.
If you’re proceeding with a divorce in NJ, you’ll also want to update your estate plan if necessary.
What many people fail to consider along the way is the added protection that they can provide to a child with special needs or a disabled child when finalizing their estate plan. Among the most important areas of consideration are:
Special Needs Trust Formation
A child with special needs will be able to apply for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which are both government programs. These two programs provide healthcare and a form of income to the child to help them support themselves.
But under the program’s rules, there are stipulations as to how much money or assets a child can maintain before losing their eligibility.
Forming a special need trust (SNT) will allow you to provide a trust for your child that is not subject to these rules. The trust will not affect your child’s eligibility for Medicaid or SSI. The trust needs to be drafted properly by an NJ estate attorney, and the administration must be carried out properly.
Conservatorship or Guardianship
A conservatorship or guardianship should be in place for your child. This will allow you to designate a person to make financial and healthcare decisions for a person that is incapacitated.
It’s key to identify who should succeed you in the event that you’re no longer able to serve as a guardian for your child.
An attorney can help you navigate through New Jersey laws pertaining to guardianship and conservatorship so that your child is cared for properly in the event that you’re no longer able to make decisions on their behalf.
Living Trust or Will
A will is a way to overcome many obstacles after a person dies. You should have a will that states your wishes in the event of your demise. No one plans on dying, but it can happen at any second. The lack of a will can lead to unwarranted burdens for your child and any heirs you may have.
Living trusts are also an available tool which should be considered.
With a living trust, your estate will be able to avoid costly probate proceedings, they’ll likely save money, and you’ll have access to the trust while you’re alive. A trust will allow you to place your assets into the trust and name a beneficiary.
You will maintain access to all of the assets in the trust as long as you’re alive.
The trust also provides a layer of privacy, too. Since a living trust isn’t a public matter, your trust will be dispersed in private. A will is public record, so the public can see all of the transactions that took place as per your will’s demands.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm focusing exclusively on family law for men and fathers. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. Brad has experience working with high asset divorce. You can read more on this topic by visiting our divorce blog. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.