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Dallas Special Needs Trusts Attorney

When you are creating an estate plan, it is important to understand all the options available. Some of the most important considerations you may face may be related to how you can provide for a person with special needs. However, different issues may need to be addressed depending on whether a person has resources available to them or whether you are putting solutions in place to provide assistance to a loved one with a disability. While special needs trusts can be beneficial in these situations, it is important to understand the differences between first-party and third-party special needs trusts.

The primary benefit of a special needs trust (SNT) is that it provides assistance for a beneficiary who has a disability or other special needs without impacting their eligibility for government benefits. Since assets placed into a trust are not owned by the beneficiary and are not considered to be among their available resources, these assets will not affect their ability to apply for or receive benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. A third party known as a trustee will manage the assets in the trust and ensure that they are used for approved purposes. This can help the person meet their ongoing needs and provide them with resources they can use in their daily lives.

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Dallas Estate Planning AttorneyCreating an estate plan is an important step in ensuring that your wishes are known and respected, no matter what may happen in the future. An estate plan may contain multiple different types of documents, including a will and a living will. Both documents play an important role in making sure that your wishes are carried out correctly. However, there are key differences between them that must be taken into account when planning for the future.

What Is a Will?

A last will and testament is a legally binding document that states who will inherit your assets after you pass away. It will also name an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, and if necessary, you may appoint a guardian for your minor children. Your executor will also be responsible for settling your debts and any other monetary obligations. While your will can be amended at any time while you are alive, it will only take effect upon your death.

A will is one of the most basic elements of any estate plan. Without a valid will in place, state laws will dictate how your property and possessions should be distributed after your death—which may not match up with what you would have wanted. For this reason, having an up-to-date will is critical to ensure that your wishes are followed after you pass away.

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dallas guardianship lawyerThere are many situations where elderly or disabled people may need help during their daily lives, and a family may believe that guardianship is appropriate. However, a person may be concerned about giving up control over their life, and they may want to be able to continue to make certain decisions for themselves. In these situations, a family may want to consider whether a limited guardianship will be appropriate or whether other options will be available. By working with an elder law attorney, a family can determine their best options and put solutions in place to ensure that an elderly or disabled family member's needs will be met.

What Is Limited Guardianship?

In a limited guardianship, the court will appoint someone to make decisions about specific aspects of the ward's life, such as their finances or healthcare. Notably, Texas law states that when a guardian will have limited authority over a ward, the guardianship should be designed in a way that will encourage the ward to develop or maintain self-reliance as much as possible so that they can independently meet their own needs. Unless there is reason to believe otherwise, it is presumed that a person will retain the capacity to make decisions about where they will live.

How Is Limited Guardianship Different From Full Guardianship?

In a full guardianship, the court gives the guardian complete control over the aspects of the ward's life covered by the type of guardianship. A guardian of the person will have the authority to make all decisions about where the ward will live and what types of medical treatment they will receive. The guardian of the person will also have the duty to provide the ward with the necessary food, shelter, and medical care while attending to their personal needs and providing supervision to ensure that they are protected from harm. A guardian of the estate may manage the ward's property and finances, including taking possession of their property, collecting debts or payments, pursuing or defending against lawsuits, and accessing digital assets such as electronic accounts.

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