Category: Dementia

Estate Plans Require Preparation for Success

Estate Plans Require Preparation for Success

Making wishes clear to family members is never enough to satisfy legal standards, according to a recent article, “Preparation is essential part of estate plan” from The News-Enterprise. Quite the opposite occurs when family members refuse to follow verbal requests, especially when personal grievances come to the surface during times of grief. Estate plans require preparation for success.

A second misconception concerns the spouse or children being able to step in and take action for a loved one whose health is declining solely based on the family relationship.

Many parents have children who would make poor agents, so many don’t name their children to act on their behalf. Even if you want your spouse or child to act on your behalf, you have to name them in the proper legal documents.

A third frequent misconception is that documents can be created when needed. Not so! Documents like Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will and others must be created well in advance. An incapacitated person cannot sign legal documents, so if no planning has been done, the family will have to petition the court to name a guardian—an expensive, time-consuming and complicated process.

Every adult should have three basic documents while they are in good health: a Health Care Power of Attorney, a Durable Power of Attorney and a Last Will and Testament.

The Health Care Power of Attorney gives another person the right to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. It also gives another person the right to access protected health care information, including medical and health insurance records. It may also be used to authorize organ and/or tissue donation and set limitations for donation. Finally, the document may direct end-of-life decisions regarding artificial life support.

The Durable Power of Attorney allows another person to handle legal and financial matters. It can be effective upon signing or upon incapacity. Without correctly executed Powers of Attorney, the family will need to apply for guardianship.

The Last Will and Testament determines who should receive any specific property and how your property is to be divided and distributed. Wills are only effective upon death, so any property in the will continues to be yours until death. Wills are also used to name the executor who will be responsible for administering the estate. It can also be used to set up additional protections for disabled beneficiaries, minor children and others who are not good with finances.

Speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to be certain to have these essential documents to prepare for the times when life doesn’t go as expected. Preparation is required for the success of your estate plan and those you love. If you would like to learn more about drafting an estate plan, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: The News-Enterprise (May 13, 2023) “Preparation is essential part of estate plan”

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Unmarried Couples must have Estate Planning Documents

Unmarried Couples must have Estate Planning Documents

Many couples make the choice not to wed, even after being together for decades, for personal or financial reasons. For example, some clients don’t marry so as not to impact their children’s inheritance, while others would rather not bother with the legalities, says a recent article, “Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples” from My Prime Time News. In some cases, marriage would cause the couple to lose pension or Social Security benefits, if they remarried. However, unmarried couples must take extra care to have estate planning documents in place to make their wishes clear and to protect each other in case of incapacity, serious illness and, ultimately, death.

From any statutory priority, a significant other does not have the legal rights granted to a spouse to serve as a personal representative or executor for their loved one’s estate. In addition, there is no statutory right to inherit property, including any family allowance or exempt property allowance.

The significant other also has no rights regarding acting as guardian or conservator for their partner and no ability to make medical decisions, if they become incapacitated or disabled.

All of these issues, however, can be resolved with the help of an estate planning attorney. Both partners should execute a will, health care power of attorney, general power of attorney and a living will to protect each other.

The last will and testament designates a personal representative or executor who will be in charge of the decedent’s estate and inherit the person’s assets. With no will, a partner will inherit no assets, unless they are owned jointly or the partner is a named beneficiary.

Having a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney gives a partner the power to make decisions if their loved one becomes incapacitated. In addition, these power of attorney documents are necessary for adult children to have priority in making these decisions, and guardianship proceedings will be required if there are no children or family members.

Disputes between the adult children of unmarried couples are common if a comprehensive estate plan still needs to be completed. For example, imagine a partner of many decades becoming too ill to communicate their end-of-life wishes. Even after a lifetime together, the adult children will have the legal upper hand, regardless of what the couple has discussed as their wishes for this situation.

It may be challenging for unmarried couples to discuss their living arrangements and family dynamics. However, the experienced estate planning attorney has met with and helped families of all kinds and will have the knowledge to prepare an estate plan to address all family dynamics.

Unmarried couples must have estate planning documents in place. Once this work is done, the couple can rest easy, knowing they have protected each other in the best and worst circumstances. If you would like to learn more about planning for unmarried couples, please visit our previous posts.

Reference: My Prime Time News (May 1, 2023) “Estate Planning for Unmarried Couples”

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Durable Power of Attorney can Prevent Guardianship Issues

Guardianship or conservatorship documents are not easy to obtain and can take months to finalize, warns the article “Possible Guardianship Or Conservatorship in Your Future? Plan Ahead With A Durable Power of Attorney” from Idaho Senior Independent. However, there is a far easier way to plan for the future. A durable power of attorney can prevent guardianship issues.

Guardianship is a tool to solve the issue of a person who has become incapacitated and cannot make personal care, legal or financial decisions. With a durable power of attorney for health care decisions and a general durable power of attorney for financial matters, you can achieve the same level of control, with far less time, trouble and cost.

The ultimate goal is to gain the legal authority to make decisions for the incapacitated individual which will be honored by third parties, including financial institutions and health care providers and facilities.

Most estate planning attorneys advise married couples to give each other durable power of attorney (POA) for health care and finances. As long as the couple doesn’t die at the same time or become incapacitated at the same time, the well spouse can manage the couple’s health and assets. It may also be a good idea to give his legal authority to another person, usually one of their children.

Having an estate planning attorney create a comprehensive estate plan, which includes powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, a last will and testament and other necessary legal documents, may seem like a lot to do. However, the alternative, pursuing guardianship or conservatorship, is just as lengthy, if not more so, and only solves one problem. A complete estate plan solves many, from care during incapacity to the distribution of assets after death.

Guardianship is needed if there is no durable health care POA for a loved one and they are unable to care for themselves or make medical decisions. This is especially true if they need some kind of housing assistance, such as assisted living or memory care. A conservatorship allows the named person to manage the loved one’s assets, including Social Security, investments and any property or vehicles they own. The POA also permits you to use their assets to pay for their care.

None of this can happen while going through the guardianship/conservatorship process, meaning you or someone else will have to pay the bills and time-sensitive decisions cannot be executed.

Achieving guardianship/conservatorship involves filing a petition with the court in the county where your loved one lives. In most cases, an estate planning attorney will advise the family member to obtain an appointment for their loved one with a physician who can evaluate the person’s ability to manage their life. A physician will need to provide a letter verifying the need for guardianship/conservatorship. The letter becomes part of the petition filed with the court.

The attorney will require a hearing based on the information provided.

Many courts require a different attorney to be retained to represent your loved one to avoid any conflict of interest. A different physician will, in many cases, also be required to evaluate the health of your relative.  Courts also often require an assessment by a legal “visitor,” typically a licensed social worker who independently evaluates your relative and makes recommendations.

The visitor reports their findings to the court and to the attorneys. The guardianship/conservatorship applicant pays for the visit and subsequent reports, plus any attorney fees.

All of this takes time, although an attorney can request that the court grant temporary guardianship and conservatorship.

Having a legal, durable power of attorney for health and finances can prevent guardianship issues long before they will be needed. It is a far simpler way for you to care for loved ones, if and when they need it. If you would like to learn more about guardianship and elder law, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Idaho Senior Independent (May 1, 2023) “Possible Guardianship Or Conservatorship in Your Future? Plan Ahead With A Durable Power of Attorney”

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Use Estate Planning to Prepare for Cognitive Decline

Use Estate Planning to Prepare for Cognitive Decline

Since 2000, the national median age in the U.S. has increased by 3.4 years, with the largest single year gain of 0.3 years in 2021, when the median age reached 38.8 years. This may seem young compared to the life expectancies of older Americans. However, the median age in 1960 was significantly lower, at 29.5 years, according to the article “Don’t Let Cognitive Decline Derail Well-Laid Financial Plans” from Think Advisor. As we get older, it is wise to use your estate planning to prepare for cognitive decline.

An aging population brings many challenges to estate planning attorneys, who are mindful of the challenges of aging, both mental, physical and financial. Experienced estate planning attorneys are in the best position to help clients prepare for these challenges by taking concrete steps to protect themselves.

Individuals with cognitive decline become more vulnerable to potentially negative influences at the same time their network of trusted friends and family members begins to shrink. As people become older, they are often more isolated, making them increasingly susceptible to scams. The current scam-rich environment is yet another reason to use estate planning.

When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other form of dementia, an estate plan must be put into place as soon as possible, as long as the person is still able express their wishes. A diagnosis can lead to profound distress. However, there is no time to delay.

While typically, the person may state they wish their spouse to be entrusted with everything, this has to be properly documented and is only part of the solution. This is especially the case if the couple is close in age. A secondary and even tertiary agent needs to be made part of the plan for incapacity.

The documents needed to protect the individual and the family are a will, financial power of attorney, durable power of attorney and health care documentation. In addition, for families with more sophisticated finances and legacy goals, trusts and other estate and tax planning strategies are needed.

A common challenge occurs when parents cannot entrust their children to be named as their primary or secondary agents. For example, suppose no immediate family members can be trusted to manage their affairs. In that case, it may be necessary to appoint a family friend or the child of a family friend known to be responsible and trustworthy.

The creation of power of attorney documents by an estate planning attorney is critical. This is because if no one is named, the court will need to step in and name a professional guardian. This person won’t know the person or their family dynamics and may not put their ward’s best interests first, even though they are legally bound to do so. There have been many reports of financial and emotional abuse by court-appointed guardians, so this is something to avoid if possible. An experienced attorney will make sure you are using your estate planning to prepare for cognitive decline. If you would like to learn more about elder care planning, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Think Advisor (April 21, 2023) “Don’t Let Cognitive Decline Derail Well-Laid Financial Plans”

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Singles Need Estate Planning for Incapacity

Singles Need Estate Planning for Incapacity

Estate planning is even more critical for singles than married couples—and it has nothing to do with whom you’ll leave assets to when you die. A recent article from AARP, “6 Estate Planning Tips for Singles,” explains how estate planning addresses support during challenging life events. Singles need estate planning during their lifetime for issues such as incapacity.

Estate planning addresses medical and financial decisions for an incapacitated person. For singles, these may be more complex questions to answer.

Whether someone has never married or is divorced or widowed, these are challenging questions to answer. However, they must be documented. In addition, singles with minor children need to nominate a trusted person who can care for their children if they cannot. Estate planning addresses all of these issues.

To be sure you complete this process, start with a conversation with an experienced estate planning attorney. This will help with accountability, ensuring that you start and finish the process.

Here are some pointers for singles who keep putting this vital task off:

What would happen if you don’t leave clear instructions about who will make medical decisions in case of incapacity? A doctor who doesn’t know your wishes will decide for you. If you don’t want to be placed on a ventilator for artificial breathing or fed by a stomach tube while in a coma, the decision will be made regardless of your wishes.

Dying without a will is known as dying “intestate.” All of your assets will be distributed according to the intestate succession laws in your state. If no relatives come forward to claim your property, the state receives your assets. This is not what most people want.

Part of your estate plan includes naming a personal representative—an executor—who will oversee your affairs after your death. You’ll want to designate someone who is organized, has good judgment and can handle financial matters. You should also name a backup, so that if the first person cannot or does not wish to serve, there will be someone else to take control. Otherwise, the court will name someone who doesn’t even know you to take on this task. It’s better to designate someone than leave this to the state.

Your estate plan includes the following:

Last will and testament. This is where you nominate your executor, heirs and how your assets will be distributed. You can also appoint a guardian for minor children. Note that anyone named as a beneficiary on a retirement, insurance policy, or investment account supersedes any instructions in your will, so be sure to update those and check on them every few years to be sure they are still aligned with your wishes.

Living trust. This is a legal entity owning assets to be given to beneficiaries, managed by a trustee of your choosing, and avoids the delays and costs of probate.

Financial Power of Attorney (FPOA). This document authorizes someone you name to act as your agent and make financial decisions if you cannot. An FPOA can prevent delays in accessing bank and investment accounts and paying your bills. The FPOA ends upon your death.

Living will, durable medical power of attorney, or advance health care directive. These documents allow you to designate someone to communicate your health care wishes when you cannot. For example, you can include instructions on pain management, organ donation and your wishes for life support measures.

Health care power of attorney (HPOA). Like the living will, which is more associated with end-of-life care, the HPOA lets someone make medical treatment decisions on their behalf.

Singles need estate planning to protect themselves for incapacity.  Be sure to communicate your wishes with family and friends. Tell your executor where your documents may be found and provide them with the information they’ll need so they may act on your behalf. If you would like to learn more about planning for incapacity or disability, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: AARP (April 7, 2023) “6 Estate Planning Tips for Singles”

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Avoid these Medical Power of Attorney Mistakes

Avoid these Medical Power of Attorney Mistakes

A health care proxy, also called a medical power of attorney, is a legal document in which you name a person to make medical decisions, in the event that you are unable to do so for yourself. It is important that you avoid these medical power of attorney mistakes.

Forbes’ recent article entitled, “Health Care Proxies – 5 Biggest Mistakes,” lists the five biggest mistakes people make on this vital document.

No 1: Failing to have one. A study found that two-thirds of us don’t have a health care proxy. If you don’t have one, your doctor may be forced to make decisions in a vacuum. As a result, your wishes may not be respected. Even worse, a court might have to step in to make decisions requiring a guardian’s appointment.

No. 2: Not speaking to those you appoint as your health care agent. This conversation doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy. However, it’s essential to give your agent some understanding of your feelings and wishes.

No. 3: Not addressing religion If you’ve changed faith , married someone of a different faith, or have children with differing religious views, addressing this in your health care documents and your discussions with your agent is critical. Don’t skip religious considerations because you aren’t religious—that’s also an essential part of this.

No. 4: Not having copies of the health care proxy available. You can put together an envelope and write your name, address, phone number and those of your agents on it. Place a copy of your health insurance info, drug cards and health care proxy in the envelope. If you created and signed a living will and/or a POLST (Physical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment) that you signed with your doctor, add copies of those to the envelope and a HIPAA release.

No. 5: Failing to address financial matters. Your health care agent most likely won’t have legal rights to pay medical bills, caregiver costs, or other outstanding bills. You should sign a durable power of attorney, a financial document designating a person (called an agent) to handle financial matters for you. Provide your agent with the necessary information, like bank account information.

Work with an experienced estate planning attorney who will help you avoid these medical power of attorney mistakes. If you would like to learn more about medical and financial powers of attorney, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Forbes (March 21, 2023) “Health Care Proxies – 5 Biggest Mistakes”

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Adding Children to Joint Account can have Unintended Consequences

Adding Children to Joint Account can have Unintended Consequences

A common request from seniors is to add their children to their bank accounts, in case something unexpected should occur. Their goal is admirable—to give their children access to funds in case of an emergency, says a recent article from Kiplinger, “Joint Account With Rights of Survivorship and Alternatives Explained.” However, adding children to a joint bank account, investment account or even a safe deposit box, can have unintended consequences.

Most couple’s bank accounts are set up by default as “Joint With Rights of Survivorship” or JWROS, automatically. Assets transfer to the surviving owner upon the death of the first spouse. This can lead to several problems. If the intent was for remaining assets not spent during a crisis to be distributed via the terms of a will, this will not happen. The assets will transfer to the surviving owner, regardless of directions in the will.

Adding anyone other than a spouse could also trigger a federal gift tax issue. For example, in 2023, anyone can gift up to $17,000 per year tax-free to anyone they want. However, if the gift exceeds $17,000 and the beneficiary is not a spouse, the recipient may need to file a gift tax return.

If a parent adds a child to a savings account and the child predeceases the parent, a portion of the account value could be includable in the child’s estate for state inheritance/estate tax purposes. The assets would transfer back to the parents, and depending upon the deceased’s state of residence, the estate could be levied on as much as 50% or more of the account value.

There are alternatives if the goal of adding a joint owner to an account is to give them access to assets upon death. For example, most financial institutions allow accounts to be structured as “Transfer on Death” or TOD. This adds beneficiaries to the account with several benefits.

Nothing happens with a TOD if the beneficiary dies before the account owner. The potential for state inheritance tax on any portion of the account value is avoided.

When the account owner dies, the beneficiary needs only to supply a death certificate to gain access to the account. Because assets transfer to a named beneficiary, the account is not part of the probate estate, since named beneficiaries always supersede a will.

Setting up an account as a TOD doesn’t give any access to the beneficiary until the death of the owner. This avoids the transfer of assets being considered a gift, eliminating the potential federal gift tax issue.

Planning for incapacity includes more than TOD accounts. All adults should have a Financial Power of Attorney, which allows one or more individuals to perform financial transactions on their behalf in case of incapacity. This is a better alternative than retitling accounts.

Retirement accounts cannot have any joint ownership. This includes IRAs, 401(k)s, annuities, and similar accounts.

Power of attorney documents should be prepared to suit each individual situation. In some cases, parents want adult children to be able to make real estate decisions and access financial accounts. Others only want children to manage money and not get involved in the sale of their home while they are incapacitated. A custom-designed Power of Attorney allows as much or as little control as desired.

Adding children to a joint account can have unintended consequences. Your estate planning attorney can help you plan for incapacity and for passing assets upon your passing. Ideally, it will be a long time before anything unexpected occurs. However, it’s best to plan proactively. If you would like to learn more about planning for incapacity, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Kiplinger (March 30, 2023) “Joint Account With Rights of Survivorship and Alternatives Explained”

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Older Singles need to Plan for the Unexpected

Older Singles need to Plan for the Unexpected

The U.S. Census Bureau reports nearly a third of all seniors live alone—about 14 million—some of whom don’t have children or anyone to care for them if they need help. However, according to a recent article from Forbes, “Essentials for the Solo Ager,” everything is fine until there’s a problem. This is especially true when the solo ager’s friends are all about the same age and in the same situation. Older singles need to plan for the unexpected.

One financial adviser asked an estate planning attorney to contact a client who was 88, living alone, still driving and maintaining her own home. She had an inadequate estate plan done for free by a volunteer at her senior center and needed a Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney. In addition, her only living relative lived outside of the United States, and the person she relied upon was a 90-year-old, legally blind neighbor. All of this had worked fine for years, but at 88, she was highly vulnerable.

Here are some options for solo agers to consider while planning constructively for the future:

Consider naming a fiduciary to handle finances in your estate plan, which an experienced estate planning attorney should prepare.

Healthcare decisions are often a minefield for someone who is cognitively or physically impaired and unable to make decisions. Some professionals can be named as your healthcare agent, preferably someone who knows the healthcare system and can advocate for you if you are incapacitated. In addition, a healthcare power of attorney would be needed.

Make your wishes and preferences clear in your estate planning documents, so someone who does not know you well can follow your specific directions and fulfill your wishes.

Give up the idea of being 100% well until you pass. Most seniors unfortunately experience one or more health challenges and need more assistance than they ever imagined. Be realistic and identify younger adults who will be able to help you and give them the legal tools to do so. If they never need to help you, fantastic, but if they do, you’ll be glad to have their help.

Single people are independent and self-reliant and take pride in these characteristics. This is great.  However, there comes a time when none of us can be independent. No one likes to think about losing their independence or becoming disabled. However, planning will keep you safer rather than hoping for the best.

Older singles need to plan for the unexpected. Meet with an experienced estate planning attorney who will help you plan for your future. If you would like to learn more about aging in place, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Forbes (March 26, 2023) “Essentials for the Solo Ager”

 

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Planning for Long-Term Care with Irrevocable Trusts

Planning for Long-Term Care with Irrevocable Trusts

One of the best strategies to plan for long-term care involves using an irrevocable trust. However, the word “irrevocable” makes people a little wary. It shouldn’t. Planning for long-term care with irrevocable trusts can provide peace of mind for your family. The use of the Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust, a type of irrevocable trust, provides both protection and flexibility, explains the article “Despite the name, irrevocable trusts provide flexibility” from The News-Enterprise.

Trusts are created by an estate planning attorney for each individual and their circumstances. Therefore, the provisions in one kind of trust may not be appropriate for another person, even when the situation appears to be the same on the surface. The flexibility provisions explored here are commonly used in Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts, referred to as IDGTs.

Can the grantor change beneficiaries in an IDGT? The grantor, the person setting up the trust, can reserve a testamentary power of appointment, a special right allowing grantors to change after-death beneficiaries.

This power can also hold the trust assets in the grantors’ taxable estate, allowing for the stepped-up tax basis on appreciated property.

Depending on how the trust is created, the grantor may only have the right to change beneficiaries for a portion or all of the property. If the grantor wants to change beneficiaries, they must make that change in their will.

Can money or property from the trust be removed if needed later? IDGT trusts should always include both lifetime beneficiaries and after-death beneficiaries. After death, beneficiaries receive a share of assets upon the grantor’s death when the estate is distributed. Lifetime beneficiaries have the right to receive property during the grantor’s lifetime.

While grantors may retain the right to receive income from the trust, lifetime beneficiaries can receive the principal. This is particularly important if the trust includes a liquid account that needs to be gifted to the beneficiary to assist a parent.

The most important aspect? The lifetime beneficiary may receive the property and not the grantor. The beneficiary can then use the gifted property to help a parent.

An often-asked question of estate planning attorneys concerns what would happen if tax laws changed in the future. It’s a reasonable question.

If an irrevocable trust needs a technical change, the trust must go before a court to determine if the change can be made. However, most estate planning attorneys include a trust protector clause within the trust to maintain privacy and expediency.

A trust protector is a third party who is neither related nor subordinate to the grantor, serves as a fiduciary, and can sign off on necessary changes. Trust protectors serve as “fixers” and are used to ensure that the trust can operate as the grantors intended. They are not frequently used, but they offer flexibility for legislative changes.

Planning for long-term care with irrevocable trusts is an excellent way to protect assets with both protection and flexibility in mind. If you would like to learn more about long-term care planning, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: The News-Enterprise (March 18, 2023) “Despite the name, irrevocable trusts provide flexibility”

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Qualified Disability Trust can reduce Tax Burden

Qualified Disability Trust can reduce Tax Burden

A qualified disability trust can help reduce the tax burden associated with special needs trusts. A qualified disability trust, or QDisT, qualifies for tax exemptions and applies to most trusts created for an individual with special needs. In most cases, explains a recent article from Investopedia, “Qualified Disability Trust: Meaning and Tax Requirements,” the person receiving income from the trust must pay income tax. However, in 2003, the IRS added a section allowing some disability trusts to reduce this tax liability. This is another example of why reviewing estate plans every few years is important.

Trusts need to meet several requirements to be considered qualified disability trusts for tax purposes. However, if a special needs trust meets these criteria, it could save a lot in taxes.

Most special needs trusts already meet the requirement to be treated as qualified disability trusts and can be reported as such at tax time. For 2022 tax year, the tax exemption for a QDisT is $4,400. For tax year 2023, the amount will increase to $4,700. Income from a QDisT is reported on IRS Form 1041, using an EIN, while distributions to the beneficiary will be taxed on their own 1040 form.

The best way to fully understand a QDisT is through an example. Let’s say a child is diagnosed with a disability, and their grandparents contribute $500,000 to an irrevocable special needs trust the child’s parents have established for the child’s benefit. The trust generates $25,000 in annual income, and $10,000 is used annually for expenses from the child’s care and other needs.

Who pays the income tax bill on the trust’s gains? There are a few options.

The parents could include income from the trust as part of their taxes. This would be “on top” of their earned income, so they will pay their marginal tax on the $25,000 generated from the trust—paying $8,000 or more.

Alternatively, trust income spent for the child’s benefit can be taxed to the child—$10,000, as listed above. This would leave $15,000. However, this must be taxed to the trust. Trust income tax brackets are high and increase steeply. Paying this way could lead to higher taxes than if the parents paid the tax.

The QDisT was designed to alleviate this problem. QDisTs are entitled to the same exemption allowed to all individual taxpayers when filing a tax return. In 2012, for instance, the personal tax exemption was $3,800, so the first $3,800 of income from QDisTs wasn’t taxed.

The deduction for personal exemptions is suspended for tax years 2018 to 2025 by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, except the same law said that in any year there isn’t a personal exemption, the exemption will be allowed for a QDisT.

For tax year 2022, $4,400 is the indexed tax exemption amount for these trusts, including most special needs trusts. For tax year 2023, the amount will increase to $4,700.

To be reported as a qualified disability trust, specific requirements must be met:

  • The trust must be irrevocable.
  • The trust must be established for the sole benefit of the disabled beneficiary.
  • The disabled beneficiary must be under age 65 when the trust is established.
  • The beneficiary must have a disability included in the definition of disabled under the Social Security Act.
  • The trust must be a third-party trust, meaning all funding must come from someone other than the disabled beneficiary.

An experienced estate planning attorney can help set up a qualified disability trust that can help reduce the tax burden and allow you to enjoy the benefits the statute grants. If you would like to learn more about special needs planning, please visit our previous posts. 

Reference: Investopedia (March 4, 2023) “Qualified Disability Trust: Meaning and Tax Requirements”

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Information in our blogs is very general in nature and should not be acted upon without first consulting with an attorney. Please feel free to contact Texas Trust Law to schedule a complimentary consultation.
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