What Are the Benefits of a Special Needs Trust in Illinois?

IL special needs trust attorney, IL estate planning lawyerA special needs trust is typically established by parents for a disabled child, or for disabled adults who are eligible for aid that will be lost if there are assets in their parent or guardian’s names only. It is a legal and fiduciary arrangement that allows a physically or mentally disabled person to receive income without interrupting or interfering with his or her eligibility for the public assistance disability benefits provided by Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Medicare, or Medicaid. For disabled beneficiaries, this financial support can make their lives more enjoyable and fulfilling. Also known as a supplemental needs trust, this kind of trust may be a necessary part of your Illinois estate plan. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you draft this essential legal document to protect your family member.

Protecting Your Loved One

According to Illinois law, two types of supplemental needs trusts can be established: third party supplemental needs trusts and supplemental needs payback trusts. Both trusts provide the disabled beneficiary with the ability to improve his or her quality of life through services or assistive equipment that he or she would not receive with government assistance programs.

  • Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trust: This document is a trust for the benefit of someone who has a disability that “substantially impairs” his or her ability to care for himself or herself. The designated person is not “liable to pay or reimburse” a public or state agency for financial relief or services that he or she may have received. It is important to note, however, that the statute stipulates that the trust is discretionary, meaning the trustee determines how the monetary funds are spent, and the disabled person is not allowed control over the property and/or the income.
  • Supplemental Needs Payback Trust: In this type of trust, a disabled beneficiary is still eligible for Social Security and Medicaid benefits, but the beneficiary’s property can fund the trust without altering his or her benefit status. Basically, this means that if the disabled individual dies, any property left in the special needs payback trust must first reimburse Federal and State expenditures before being distributed to the beneficiary named in the trust.

Public assistance programs established for those individuals with special needs have certain income and asset restrictions. However, money put in the special needs trusts does not count toward the qualification for public assistance, as long as the funds are not used for food or shelter. Instead, the proceeds from this type of trust are generally used for medical bills, caretaker, and transportation costs, in addition to other relevant expenses.

It is crucial that the individual who creates the trust clearly explains the terms and directives of trust to ensure it is valid. A special needs trust must be established before the beneficiary reaches the age of 65.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Estate Planning Attorney

Planning for the future can help alleviate stress and disputes down the road. Creating a special needs trust that will continue to provide for your disabled family member is an important undertaking. A knowledgeable DuPage County estate planning lawyer At Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC, we are well-versed in Illinois law and prepared to assist you so you do not have to worry about your loved one’s future. Call us today at 630-665-2500 to schedule a private consultation and learn how we can meet your family’s personal needs.



What You Should Know About Wills and Living Trusts

Illinois estate planning attorney, Illinois will lawyer, IL trust attorney, The process of estate planning can be challenging, depending on the size and complexity of your estate and what you want done with your assets upon your death. Proper estate planning requires a level of knowledge of the various tools, methods, and strategies that are often employed. For example, it is important to understand the differences between a will and a living trust and how those differences could affect your heirs. It is also a good idea to work closely with a qualified lawyer who can provide assistance in meeting your estate planning needs.

What Is a Will?

At its most basic, a will is a legal document that allows you to specify how your assets and possessions are to be distributed. A will can also name a legal guardian for any minor children. An important characteristic of a will is that it is a revocable and amendable document that you can control until your death. It can be updated, altered, or changed to accommodate changing situations, such as the death of an heir or divorce. Keep in mind, however, that there are some major limitations with a will—particularly when it comes to the amount of control you have over your estate after your death. The tax consequences for your heirs may also be significant if your estate plan consists only of a will.

What Is a Living Trust?

Living trusts are generally more complex than wills are, but they offer you more control over your estate after death. A living trust also gives you more control over how your estate is structured prior to your death. For example, you can be the trustee of your own estate and then plan for a successor after death or incapacitation, or you can simply name another individual as the trustee from the start. Like a will, a revocable living trust can be amended, updated, or revoked for as long as the creator of the trust is alive.

Compared to a will, a living trust also provides more privacy regarding the disbursement of your estate, and, in the case of larger estates, it can reduce the tax load for your heirs. Keep in mind, however, that living trusts must be properly funded, and they can be more expensive to set up initially. Still, for those with large, complex, or potentially problematic estates, the cost of a living trust may be well worth the peace of mind the trust can provide.

Contact a Wheaton Wills and Trusts Lawyer

If you have questions about wills, trusts, or any other estate planning tool, the team at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC is ready and willing to help you. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced DuPage County estate planning attorneys today. We will work with you in finding the answers you need and the security you and your family deserve.





Should I Use a Revocable Living Trust or an Irrevocable Living Trust?

IL estate planning lawyer, Illinois trust attorneyAlthough many people assume that a last will and testament is the only estate planning tool that they need, a will is not always the best way to accomplish all of your estate planning goals. Other estate tools such as living trusts are often overlooked due to confusion or misunderstandings about the purpose of these tools. A trust is a legally binding agreement involving an individual or entity called a trustee who holds property for the benefit of a beneficiary. A living trust is an advantageous tool for managing your assets during your lifetime and then passing those assets to beneficiaries upon your death. If you are interested in using a living trust to manage your assets, you may question whether you should use a revocable living trust or an irrevocable living trust.

Revocable Trusts

As the name implies, a revocable trust is one that is able to be revoked or canceled. If you place assets in a revocable trust, you remain in control of those assets. You are also considered to be the owner of those assets in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service and other governmental agencies. Because the property is yours, you can choose to remove the property from the trust and use it for other purposes at any time. A revocable living trust covers you while you are alive, in the event that you are incapacitated by illness or injury, and after you pass away. One of the greatest benefits of a revocable living trust is that it avoids probate– the public legal process during which a will is validated in court. Because you remain the owner of the property placed in a revocable trust, transferring property to a revocable trust does not affect your federal income taxes or estate income.

Irrevocable Trusts

An irrevocable trust is not able to be withdrawn. When you transfer assets to an irrevocable trust, you no longer own the assets or have control over them. The trust itself becomes the owner of the property. This means that you cannot take the assets out of the trust. Because you are not the owner of the assets in an irrevocable trust, you cannot be taxed on them. However, you can continue to gain revenue on investments from the trust. Depending on your net worth and overall estate planning goals, there may be enormous tax benefits to placing assets in an irrevocable trust. Using an irrevocable trust may also help shield your assets from any future creditors.

Contact a Wheaton Trust Lawyer

Assets placed within a revocable trust may be withdrawn at any time while assets in an irrevocable trust are no longer considered your property. There are advantages and disadvantages to both irrevocable and revocable trusts. If you want to learn more about which type of trust will best suit your unique needs, contact Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Call our office today at 630-665-2500 and schedule a personalized consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County estate planning attorney.