Posted by: The Life and Legacy Planning Group
When a loved one suffers from a mental illness, one small comfort can be knowing that your trust can take care of them through thick and thin. There are some ways this can happen, ranging from the funding of various types of treatment to providing structure and support during his or her times of greatest need.
Let’s explore a few ways your trust can help take care of a loved one struggling with mental illness with the help of your estate planning attorney:
In some cases, the person suffering from mental illness doesn’t have the capacity to enroll him or herself in the right type of care. If an intervention of care is needed, your trust can also help encourage involuntary treatment that ultimately serves your loved one’s best interests in the long run.
Selecting a trustee isn’t always an easy feat. That’s one of many decision-making areas where we’re more than happy to step in and walk you through the process. When you have a loved one battling mental illness, your choice of a trustee becomes even more of a nuanced decision.
We’ll help you choose the perfect person to not only manage the wealth contained within the trust but also keep a compassionate watchful eye on your loved one benefitting from the trust. An astute trustee can look for early warning signs surrounding your loved one’s mental health issue and make sure to get them connected to the care and services they need in no time.
Often, a trustee is unable or unwilling to serve as a caretaker, care manager or to assume any role other than as a manager of the financial aspects of your trust. Instead of having the trustee serve in that capacity, the trust can appoint a care manager or care committee, consisting of family members, friends or professionals who can see to the day-to-day care of your loved one.
Most people don’t think of large inheritances as a burden. But this can be the case when an individual is dealing with depression, anxiety, hoarding, or diseases like schizophrenia. Lifetime trusts are an excellent way to take care of your loved one without saddling them with a challenge on top of what they are already experiencing.
If the beneficiary of your trust is currently receiving, or is likely in the future to qualify for or need governmental assistance because of his or her condition, a trust can be set up and drafted in a way to protect such benefits. Such trusts, commonly referred to as Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts can provide invaluable support and assistance, and can benefit your loved one far more than other general lifetime trusts.
A discretionary lifetime trust can be drafted in such a way that its funds can only be used to go toward certain goods and services — such as outpatient mental health care, housing, or other “necessaries” of life. Likewise, it can also prohibit spending in areas that would cause more harm than good — gambling or compulsive shopping, for example. The discretionary nature of these types of trusts assures that your loved one doesn’t have to worry about their own potential missteps when it comes to using the wealth contained within the trust.
Do you have a family member or other loved one who could use the financial flexibility and structural support of a trust? Give us a call today, and together we’ll figure out the best ways to enhance your loved one’s life by finding the right estate planning tools to offer the most help.