Understandably, special needs estate planning generally focuses on what a loved one will need in the event that someone who provides them with care and/or support passes away or is incapacitated. However, it is also vitally important to consider the question of what a loved one with special needs wishes for themselves and for their future.
Each heir may have unique preferences regarding the assets they receive. By considering their wishes, you can demonstrate respect for their individuality and provide an opportunity for them to have a say in how their inheritance is structured.
Additional benefits of considering “want” in addition to “need”
Considering an heir’s wishes when doing special needs estate planning is an important aspect of ensuring a smooth and satisfactory transfer of assets. Here’s why it’s important to take an heir’s wishes into account:
- Promoting Family Harmony: Taking an heir’s wishes into account can help prevent potential conflicts among family members. By involving heirs in the estate planning process and considering their desires, you’ll likely reduce the likelihood of resentment among your other beneficiaries.
- Maximizing the Value of the Inheritance: By considering an heir’s wishes, you can align the rules of the special needs trust with their personal goals and aspirations. This allows them to make the most of the resources provided. It enhances their ability to utilize the assets effectively and may contribute to their long-term financial well-being, especially if certain estate planning decisions could impact their ability to receive government benefits.
It’s important to engage in open and transparent communication with heirs to understand their wishes and to better ensure that their needs and desires are appropriately addressed by the special needs trust.
Seeking legal guidance and learning more about the resources available to a loved one with special needs can help to better ensure that you incorporate your heir’s wishes into your overall estate plan.