When you write your will in Connecticut, you might want to leave a portion of your assets to a friend or family member with special needs. However, it’s important to talk to an attorney about the consequences of this decision. If you don’t leave these assets in a trust, your gift might prevent your beneficiary from receiving government assistance.
What happens when you leave your assets in a trust?
When you place your assets in special needs trusts, your beneficiary won’t have direct ownership of the assets. As a result, the trust won’t affect their government benefits. They could continue receiving benefits like SSI and take advantage of your gift at the same time.
Conversely, if you just leave the assets behind in a will, your beneficiary will get direct ownership of the assets. This might disqualify them from receiving government assistance. Since government assistance is intended for people who don’t have enough money to take care of themselves, the government might assume that your gift is enough to pay for the individual’s medical bills.
When you start writing your will, your estate planning attorney might recommend forming a trust and choosing a reliable trustee. Trusts aren’t just for people with special needs–you could set up a trust for just about any beneficiary.
What is a trust?
A trust is a collection of assets managed by a trustee that you name in your will. You can put just about anything in a trust, including cash, investments, properties and other assets. When you form a trust, you could set rules for how you want the trustee to distribute the assets. Many people form a trust so they can dispense assets to their children over a long period of time instead of surprising them with one lump sum.