There are many aspects to estate planning. You certainly don’t have to address each one if it’s not applicable to your situation, but that’s the beauty of estate planning: that you can custom tailor an estate plan to fit your needs. Yet, you do need to be careful that your estate plan isn’t too simplistic. By ensuring that it is holistic, you increase your chances of protecting your estate and providing your loved ones with the future that you envision for them.

You might be particularly concerned about the future of a loved one who has special needs or extensive medical care. These individuals might have bleak outlooks as far as employment is concerns, which is problematic when they need extensive and expensive care. Although they may qualify for certain public benefits as they grow older, like Social Security disability, Medicare, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income, they’re still likely to face financial hardship without some sort of outside support. Fortunately, estate planning may provide the answer to this challenging question of how to ensure that they have the care and support they need.

One of the primary ways to achieve this goal is create a special needs trust. This is a type of irrevocable trust, meaning that creditors or judgments can’t reach assets within it, thereby protecting those assets for the beneficiary’s use. Also, the assets in a special needs trust don’t count toward income requirements pertaining to government assistance programs. This can be huge for your identified beneficiary. Although the assets will need to be used for certain costs, like transportation or housing, it can go a long way toward giving your loved one the financial support he or she needs while allowing him or her to still secure the long-term public assistance he or she deserves.

Special needs trusts, like all other estate planning documents, need to be carefully drafted and maintained in order to live up to their identified purposes. That is why many Illinois residents choose to turn to qualified estate planning attorneys to help them develop the plan that sets their estate and their loved ones up for a successful future.