Protecting Vulnerable Beneficiaries: Special Considerations in Estate Planning

Your estate planning is a crucial part of protecting your beneficiaries no matter what happens to you. When your beneficiaries are vulnerable for one reason or another, it’s even more important to ensure that they will have the resources they need to live a comfortable life after your passing. With proper estate planning, you can create a framework that will give your vulnerable beneficiaries adequate income and resources to account for their special needs while also protecting the assets you bequeath to them from being exploited, squandered, or stolen. The following are estate planning considerations if your beneficiaries are vulnerable.

Defining a Vulnerable Beneficiary

The most common reasons a beneficiary would be considered vulnerable are physical or mental disability. A person with a physical disability might need special medical care like a live-in caregiver or medical equipment. Someone with a mental or cognitive disability may need someone else to manage their finances to avoid squandering their inheritance or being financially exploited. A beneficiary may also be considered vulnerable because of limited financial acumen or because they are too young to effectively manage their own finances.

In any of these cases, you will want to make special provisions to ensure your beneficiary has enough money to live while also accounting for any special needs they may have.

Estate Planning Tools for Vulnerable Beneficiaries

Establishing a trust or series of trusts is the best way to protect vulnerable beneficiaries. Trusts provide a great deal of customization, making them flexible enough to account for nearly any special considerations you may need to make. For example, you could create specific guidelines for the disbursement of the assets in your trust, setting aside a certain amount to pay a live-in caregiver or assisted living services. You could also tie disbursements to reaching certain milestones, like reaching the age of 18 or graduating from college. Funds in the trust could be set aside specifically to pay for a college education. You could even set up your trust to provide a monthly income for a beneficiary with poor money management skills, giving them an adequate income while preventing them from spending their money too quickly. The trust can also be structured in a way to only be used for Special and Supplemental Needs, thereby allowing the beneficiary to maintain their need-based public benefits.

Estate Planning Attorney for Wills and Trusts in Pennsylvania

Having beneficiaries with special needs makes careful estate planning even more crucial. If you want to account for the needs of your vulnerable beneficiaries, it’s best to speak with an estate planning attorney who can help you set up trusts and make other considerations to protect them when you pass away.

If you live in Montgomery County, PA or nearby communities like Chester County, PA, Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Robert Slutsky can help you. He was one of the first attorneys in PA to center his practice around elder law and special needs concerns like long-term care, and disability planning (in addition to estate planning, probate, and trusts). If you would like to set up an estate plan or trust with specific provisions for your vulnerable beneficiaries, he is one of the most experienced elder law attorneys in Pennsylvania. Call Rob today if you need an estate planning attorney in Lansdale, PA or surrounding counties, call (610) 940-0650 or contact us to request a consultation.

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