Revocable Living Trusts – 101
Trusts are different from wills in a variety of ways:
- Unlike a will that directs assets only at the time of death, trusts can award assets before the grantor (the person that funds the trust) dies, or long after.
- Trusts can award assets conditionally (i.e., the assets cannot be touched until the beneficiary turns 21 years old).
- Trusts can be explicitly crafted for a special needs beneficiary.
- Trusts are managed by a trustee of the grantor’s choosing. The trustee has a legal responsibility to ensure that the beneficiary receives their assets in the manner prescribed in the trust.
A special needs trust is arguably one of the most important financial tools for individuals with special needs.
Special needs trusts can:
- hold an unlimited amount of money or other assets;
- safeguard assets without impacting government benefits (i.e. SSI eligibility, Medicaid, food stamps, etc.);
- be used for a wide array of expenses;
- go to other beneficiaries (after Medicaid has been reimbursed) in the event of the beneficiary’s death.
Special needs trusts can do a lot for a special needs person; however, the creation, drafting, and implementation of a special needs trust is very challenging without the help of an attorney focused on estate and special needs planning. One wrong sentence can hamstring the entire document, so every sentence needs to be precise. Vancouver Wills and Trusts can create a special needs trust that works for your family, so you can rest easy.