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Estate Planning

Special Needs

How to Challenge a Guardianship | Illinois Contested Guardianships

How to Challenge a Guardianship | Illinois Contested Guardianships

In this article, we explain how to challenge and revoke an existing guardianship in Illinois.  In the case of both minor guardianship and the guardianship of an incapacitated adult, the guardianship arrangement can be challenged and revoked under Illinois law. Guardianship is a court-appointed order, and therefore requires a court order to modify or terminate the guardianship appointment.  We will discuss in detail the process for challenging guardianship of a minor and challenging the guardianship of an incapacitated adult.

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When Does a Guardianship End in Illinois?

When Does a Guardianship End in Illinois?

In this article we will explain the different ways that a guardianship can end in Illinois.  Since guardianship is a court-appointed order, only an order from a court can end or modify an existing guardianship. However, there are instances when a guardianship may end without court involvement. We will explain what happens if a guardian dies, what happens to a guardianship if the ward dies, what happens if a guardian resigns, “when does a guardianship of a minor end?”, and “how can guardianship of an incapacitated adult end?

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Illinois ABLE Accounts Explained

Illinois ABLE Accounts Explained

In this article, we explain Illinois ABLE Accounts, including how ABLE Accounts allow individuals with disabilities to save without jeopardizing government benefits such as SSI.

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Special Needs Trusts Explained

Special Needs Trusts Explained

In this article we will explain how to use special needs trusts in order to maximize social security benefits for individuals with disabilities.  This article is the seventh in a series of nine articles explaining the Eight Goals of a Good Estate Plan. 

In Illinois, a disabled individual is entitled to receive up to $733.00 per month inSupplemental Security Income (“SSI”) if two things are true:

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ABLE Accounts & Special Needs Trusts Explained

ABLE Accounts & Special Needs Trusts Explained

Special Needs Trusts, also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts, are a tool that allow individuals with disabilities to earn income, accumulate wealth, receive gifts and inheritances, and maintain a quality lifestyle while still qualifying for government benefits.

‍Many government programs for which disabled individuals may be eligible, such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, subsidized housing, and vocational rehabilitation, require that, in order to receive benefits, the disabled individual must have less than $2,000.00 in assets.  Most also require that the individual’s income be less than a certain threshold level.

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Special Needs Trusts Explained

Special Needs Trusts Explained

Planning for the long-term care of a loved one with special needs requires thought and preparation. The fact is, when it comes to the future needs of a family member with a disability, the possibility that they may outlive you is something that must be considered, especially when the individual is a minor or adult child. Preparations include estimating possible future care-giving costs, as well as making sure all assets are managed properly to best benefit your loved one.

​Special protection when you need it most

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Can a Special Needs Trust Own a Home?

Can a Special Needs Trust Own a Home?

In a recent article, we explained how Special Needs Trusts, also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts, can be used to allow individuals with disabilities to earn income, accumulate wealth, receive gifts and inheritances, and maintain a quality lifestyle while still qualifying for government benefits.

As explained in that article, assets held by a Special Needs Trust cannot be used on "shelter" or groceries without reducing the amount of SSI benefits that the beneficiary of the trust is entitled to receive.

I was recently asked by a client whether a home owned by a Special Needs Trust would qualify as shelter.  In fact, if title to real estate is transferred to a Special Needs Trust, this does not count as "shelter" for the purposes of reducing SSI benefits.  Mortgage and utility payments associated with shelter (such as heat, electricity, and water), do however, qualify as payments toward "shelter," and would serve to reduce the amount of SSI benefits to which the beneficiary is entitled.  However, if there is no mortgage on the home, transferring real estate to a Special Needs Trust is an effective way to provide for the housing of the beneficiary without having the value of the home reduce the amount of that individuals SSI benefits.  

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