For those who depend on needs-based governmental assistance like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the possibility of receiving a sizable amount of money through a gift, inheritance, divorce, or civil lawsuit settlement can be problematic. While the individual certainly may have a need for additional funds, as evidenced by his or her qualification for benefits payable only to those of meager means, the receipt of funds from a third party could disqualify him or her from certain government programs, at least for a time. Nashville estate planning attorney Randy Ratliff is in the business of helping families throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties find the best approach for their circumstances, including situations in which a would-be beneficiary’s eligibility for government assistance is a potential issue. Often, one possible answer to a challenging estate-planning problem is to set up a trust. A “trust” is simply a fiduciary relationship in which a trustee is appointed to manage certain assets placed for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. There are many different types of trusts, each of which has particular purpose. Setting up the right kind of trust is very important because there are many different kinds of trusts, each of which is aimed at solving a particular challenge. A skilled will and trust lawyer can help you identify which one is right for you.Trusts Can Accomplish Many Estate Planning Goals
Sometimes, a trustor simply wants to make sure that the beneficiary of the trust has someone who will help him or her manage a gift or inheritance (this could also be true in the case of a minor settlement following an accident or a parent’s wrongful death). The reason for a trust may be the beneficiary’s age or lack of experience in handling financial matters, or it could be because the beneficiary is a spendthrift, is in a bad relationship, or has an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or even gambling. Setting up a trust in such a situation allows the trustor to know that his or her gift to the beneficiary will be handled in a fiscally responsible way rather than be wasted, leaving the beneficiary in need in the years to come.
Trusts can also be used for other purposes, including providing funds for the use of a disabled or special needs individual who relies on government assistance for medical care, housing, or other basic needs. Because eligibility for many government programs is based on the recipient’s financial condition, an outright transfer of assets could be problematic. However, it may be possible for the beneficiary to continue receiving certain government benefits if a certain type of trust, such as a pooled trust, is used. A pooled trust is a trust in which the assets of several beneficiaries are joined together for the purposes of investment and fund management; however, each beneficiary retains a separate account, the proceeds of which may be used for limited purposes without the beneficiary becoming ineligible for public aid.Talk to an Estate Planning Lawyer About a Pooled Trust in Nashville
Whether or not a pooled trust would be appropriate in a particular situation depends on many factors, including the beneficiary’s age, whether he or she suffers from a disability, the type(s) of benefits that he or she is currently receiving, and the amount of money at issue. If you think that a pooled trust might work in your situation, you should talk to a Nashville attorney who can guide you through the process. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we can provide advice concerning pooled trusts, other types of trusts, and a vast array of estate planning options (such as wills, powers of attorney, and healthcare proxies) designed to fit your unique situation. We represent clients throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including those in Joelton, Antioch, Madison, Hermitage, Goodlettsville, Brentwood, Franklin, Cool Springs, and Nashville. For a consultation, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. We understand that discussing private matters such as a loved one’s financial situation can be difficult, but rest assured that everything that takes place in our offices will be held in the strictest of confidence.