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5 things families should know about special needs trusts

Special needs trusts (SNT) are helpful tools for families who have children with physical or mental disabilities. However helpful they may be, it is still important to understand how they work and how they help your child. Here are five essential things to know about SNTs.

Why all parents need a will

According to a recent study, only 36 percent of Gen X parents with minor children have an estate plan. That means 64 percent of parents between the ages of 37 and 52 are leaving their children’s care up to intestate law if tragedy strikes.

All parents with children should have a will. Here are a few reasons why.

When is guardianship necessary in estate planning?

Estate planning does not always just involve preparing for asset distribution after your death. It also focuses on your treatment towards the end of your life. Many Seattle residents fail to acknowledge this, resulting in their relatives and friends worrying about what will happen once they become physically or mentally incapacitated.

Most often appoint a power of attorney to someone they trust, which allows the person to act and make important financial and medical decisions for them once they become incapable of doing so. Otherwise, the court could assign the person “guardian” or “conservator”. If given the opportunity, many would opt to assign a power of attorney while they still have the ability to think clearly and choose what they want. However, there are several situations in which a guardianship is the only option to decide for someone when they cannot decide for themselves.

3 common myths about estate planning

Ben Franklin wrote that only two things are certain in this world — death and taxes. Both events require important planning, even if you want to avoid thinking about them.

Since you file taxes every year, you can’t really dodge them. However, people often delay creating an estate plan because they don’t fully understand how it works. Here are three common misconceptions people have about this process.

Getting Washington Medicaid for your nursing home

It can be stressful on both an emotional and financial level when you are planning to move your parents into a nursing home. You want your parents to have the best care they can get, but their fixed income makes it difficult to afford. Even if you have some money to spare, you still have your own finances to worry about as well.

That’s where Medicaid comes in. Unlike Medicare, it is a joint federal and state health program designed to provide financial aid towards medical costs of people with limited income. However, it can be a complicated process to apply for in every state, so you need to know how it works in Washington before signing your parents up.

When life events arise, it’s best to update your estate plan

The twins have arrived – a boy and a girl. You and your spouse are overjoyed even though you had not expected to become parents again once you turned 40. After all, you already have two kids in middle school. Still, this major life event remains wonderful news.

The key phrase, though, is “major life event.” And this brings to mind important financial matters pertaining to your family. Whenever a major life event surfaces, it’s time to update your will and estate plan. Get moving. Ideally, you already would have begun the planning in anticipation of the changes.

What to think about when aging parents live far away

The scenery of the Pacific Northwest is very beautiful. Few can deny this. The natural beauty brings people from across the country. While many who grow up in this part of the country end up staying and living their whole lives here, it is not uncommon for some to find homes elsewhere. With that, their aging parents may stay behind in the Seattle - Tacoma metro area. When the parent of an adult child gets older and starts having health issues, doctor’s appointments and welfare checks are increasingly important. Despite this, a child’s professional life and family obligations may make it difficult to make frequent trips to Seattle to be a part of their parent’s life.

Additionally, some aging parents may not be forthcoming about their illnesses or health conditions, which can become very complicated after suffering a major health issue. An elderly parent may believe that they would simply be an undue burden on their children if they revealed their condition, and do not want to cause extra stress and consternation with their failing health.

Weighing whether to create a will or living trust

Should you have a will or should you consider setting up a revocable or “living” trust? That all depends on a number of factors including the size of your estate, your concerns about costs as well as your comfort level. Both allow you to manage your estate and assets while passing them down to heirs and beneficiaries.

However, with a revocable living trust, you can do so while still alive. You have the flexibility to revoke or change the trust’s terms in your lifetime, moving assets into and out of the trust when you want. You can’t do that from a coffin when you have a will.

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