Planning for Special Needs

Planning for special needs is a tricky topic. Sometimes you need to just make sure that a family member who faces special challenges is cared for. Other times, we have to take care of them, but not eliminate their eligibility for public assistance. You should always also keep in mind their ability to use the money. Some gifts end up going to the government if they aren’t used. It is important to have a skilled attorney when adding this to your estate plan.

This video introduces this topic. The laws around this topic are very nuanced. If you have questions or want to schedule a planning session, click here.


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What Happens If You Die Without An Estate Plan?

What happens if you die without a will or any estate plan? It might not be as bad as you think, but it does probably involve some consequences that you didn’t plan for. Anything without a beneficiary has to go through probate.  This process is called intestate succession.  You also lose control of what happens to the money. Suppose you have kids from a previous marriage.

If you have no plan, then your ex might end up in control of the money. Sure, the court might watch it and the money is supposed to be spent on the kids, but there may be no fiduciary in between. What if you remarried? Does your spouse really really love the kids that are from the previous relationship?

For more on avoiding probate, check out the video below.

To plan with me, click here to schedule a session.

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Incapacity Planning Is Important

Incapacity Planning is very important. It can be even more important than Estate Planning. How will your family take care of you if you are just injured and don’t die?  Do you have long term care insurance?

Do you have disability insurance?  What if you just get too old and your mind begins to go?  That can have a much more devastating affect than your death.  The emotional toll of having to take care of you after an accident while also dealing with financial pressure is often worse.

What happens if you don’t have a plan? Living Probate.  The video below explains that as well.

If you want to plan with me or talk further, click here to schedule an appointment.

Planning is not a Projection

Just predicting the future and letting it run its course is not planning. Planning is when you take identify steps that you can take now to shape the future and change it for the better. You do not tax plan just by predicting how much money you will have to pay at the end of the year. You plan by deciding what you can do now to lower that future bill. Then seeing it through.

The same is true for business planning and estate planning. You are going to die. Your stuff will be passed to someone else. Planning just to transfer the assets is not a plan. A plan will help you do things with those assets to make sure they take care of your family when you are gone.

Planning Is About People

Planning is about people. Too often we focus on the things. We focus on taxes or we focus on the business and the heirlooms.  Don’t forget that the purpose of planning is people.

Planning is about our loved ones, our employees, our customers, and the other people in our lives. It is about a result or a goal that enhances our lives and theirs.  The plan itself is about taking steps and actions to achieve those outcomes to enhance people’s lives.

The things and the money are the fuel for that process. We use them along with our other talents to achieve the goals. We just got out of tax season. Many people are focused on planning right now. It is just that they are focused on the dollars and cents.  We should look to the people first.

If you have more questions or would like to schedule a planning session, click here.

Incapacity Planning

Incapacity Planning is a topic that sneaks up on people.  It is a vital part of any Estate Plan.  Most people are familiar with the concept of Probate. You normally think of this as something that could happen to you when you die.  It is also something that most of my clients tell me they want to avoid.  What you don’t often hear much about is the fact that you can go through Probate while you are alive. Incapacity planning can prevent this.


Asset Protection Trust

Most asset protection plans include an asset protection trust. An asset protection trust is a special kind of trust that is written to keep the assets from creditors, divorcing spouses, or other threats.  Some states have enacted specific statutes to create special trusts with strengthened asset protection features. South Dakota has one such statute.