Even when families know to properly plan for their special needs child and create a special needs trust, there are still several common mistakes that can jeopardize all of that careful planning. The biggest one? Not aligning assets with the trust, or what may be more commonly known as “funding” the trust.
It’s a very common problem in estate planning: you meet with the attorney, have the documents created, sign them and you’re done! Or not. Once a trust is created, assets must be titled in the name of the trust and aligned with your overall estate plan. Titling of assets is key in estate planning, no matter what kind of trust you use, and many people incorrectly believe that the work is done once the trust document is signed. However, you need to go back and look at the estate plan. Did you leave an IRA account to a grandchild? Great! Are they the named beneficiary on file with the custodian? What about a life insurance policy? Have you changed the beneficiary designations to work with the way you structured your estate plan?
One of the biggest allies you can have when working to re-title your assets and align them with your estate plan and special needs trust is your estate planning and special needs planning attorney. Working with an attorney with an ongoing maintenance program can make all the difference. Increasingly, attorneys are working with clients to help them understand what steps they will need to take to make sure their assets will pass the way they intend. This usually should include assisting in aligning assets, verifying with institutions that assets have been correctly titled and will pass the way they are intended to in the estate plan, and ongoing review of assets as the type and value often change over time.
At Family Estate Planning Law Group, we have developed an ongoing client maintenance program to help all our clients ensure their estate plan will work the way they have designed it. For the last fifteen years, we have worked with our clients to align, verify and track assets over time to ensure our clients’ families are taken care of when it matters.
If you have a special needs beneficiary and are concerned about how to most efficiently create your estate plan and monitor it over time, explore the Special Needs section of our website and contact us to schedule a consultation today!