Taking care of a family member with a severe disability is a primary concern for many Australians. For some people, it even requires providing around the clock care.
No matter what the details of your situation are, you need to make provisions for the care of your disabled loved one after you pass away. If your family member is dependent upon you for their care, you need to ensure that they will be well looked after if you’re not around.
Making preparations well in advance will give you peace of mind, knowing that your loved will have access to all the care and services that they need when you’re no longer able to help them.
What is a Special Disability Trust Will?
A Special Disability Trust Will allows your disabled beneficiary to receive their inheritance from you without it affecting their income support payment, such as a disability support pension, or their health care card. On your death, the Will sets up a trust that will receive the funds you are leaving to your beneficiary and can pay for their care throughout their lifetime.
Any inheritance you leave to a disabled beneficiary under the terms of a standard Will has the potential to affect means tested benefits that they receive, such as their pension and health care card. This is why people choose to make provisions for their disabled family members in the form of a Special Disability Trust Will.
How it works
The Trust allows a disabled person to receive a set amount of funds indexed annually to pay for their care, including their accommodation, medical expenses, and private health fund membership. This means that the beneficiary will still be able to receive income support and use their health care card, potentially saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.
The Trust can also pay for discretionary items not related to the care and accommodation needs of the beneficiary, up to ten thousand dollars in a financial year. For example, the trust can pay for items to improve the beneficiary’s health, wellbeing, recreation, independence, and social inclusion.
Some of the advantages of a Special Disability Trust include:
- Means test concessions – As of 1 June 2016 the trust, the Trust can hold assets worth up to $626,000, indexed annually, without impacting on the beneficiary’s income support.
- Maintenance and expenses of Trust properties – The trust can be used to pay for the maintenance and expenses of the Trust’s property.
Setting up a Special Disability Trust Will
You can set up a Special Disability Trust Will in the same way that you give instructions for a standard Will. Your lawyer will walk you through the process and tell you what information they require in order to create all the necessary documents. At the time of your death, the Will document itself sets up the Special Disability Trust via its Trust Deed.
You should always use the services of a lawyer when creating or changing a standard Will, so getting the help of a lawyer is even more important when you need to set up a Special Disability Trust Will. The necessary documents can be very complex and confusing, and require an understanding of technical legal terms.
If you do not get the services of a Lawyer, you run the risk of the Trust not being set up properly and your disabled beneficiary losing their pension and their health care card.
Get advice from expert Family and Will Lawyers
At Rose Lawyers, we have over 35 years of experience in helping people with their Will and Estate matters. We understand how important providing for your disabled family member is to you, and we can help you put all the necessary provisions in place.
We handle these delicate legal matters with sensitivity and care.
For lawyers you can trust to handle your Special Disability Trust Will, call Rose Lawyers on 03 9878 5222.
Julie is an admitted Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Victoria. She has a range of experience in Civil Litigation, Commercial Law, Family Law, Taxation...
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