Supplemental Needs Trusts

Why Your "Sweetheart" Will Is Putting You & Your Spouse At Risk

There are times for us to express our love for our “sweetheart.” Is the so-called “Sweetheart” Will, where we leave everything outright to our spouse, the right way to show our love and devotion?

The short answer is “no.” Suppose that upon your passing your spouse is someone who is in need of expensive care, whether in a skilled nursing facility or otherwise. Leaving everything outright to him or her may not be the best option. Qualifying for Medicaid to assist with the cost of care is almost certainly going to be beneficial to your spouse. Leaving everything outright to him or her is very likely going to disqualify your spouse from Medicaid assistance. What they receive from you will just replace what Medicaid would have paid for otherwise, giving them no benefit from your estate.

The answer to this dilemma is to include a contingent Supplemental Needs Trust in your Will. Then if your spouse is in need of or receiving care, instead of receiving your estate outright, he or she will receive it in a trust that Medicaid cannot count against eligibility. The trust can be used to purchase goods and services Medicaid does not cover, making what you have left a real benefit to your spouse. If there are still funds left in the trust upon your spouse’s passing, your Will can direct who receives the balance. So, it turns out that the real “Sweetheart” Will is one that includes a Supplemental Needs Trust.

Find Out More About Supplemental Needs Trusts

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