Jun 7th

Estate Planning Services: 4 Wealth Planning considerations for clients with Illnesses or Disabilities

Wealth planning has a broad range of approaches depending on the needs of a client. When it comes to chronic diseases and illnesses, having a specialized plan that is sure to meet all needs takes understanding and a personalized approach. Working with a wealth management company offering comprehensive trustee services, estate planning services and family office services can be extremely helpful. 

Every situation is different, so it’s important to take into careful consideration the specialized needs of each individual and family.

Families dealing with diseases and disabilities must find methods to set aside finances to assure constant care for their loved ones, whether it’s a child with severe autism or an older family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a customized plan is needed. When creating the plan, it’s important to note that it shouldn’t affect eligibility for government assistance or any other resources available to the family in need.

Thomas Frank, Executive Vice President and Northern California Regional Manager at Whittier Trust, says, “What’s critical is being able to understand each individual, whether it’s the client who has the illness or disability, or one of their family members.” Professionals, who are called to help with these kinds of estate planning services, need to be accustomed to customization and ready for whatever comes their way. Family office services and their wholistic approach to wealth management can be especially helpful in unique circumstances. 

Our family office and estate planning experts share their key considerations for families when creating a plan for someone with illnesses or disabilities.

Personalize Your Plans

Due to each circumstance of disabilities and illnesses being unique, developing an effective strategy for people with chronic diseases or impairments can be difficult, so it’s important to know the status and potential future outcome of every situation. Things change and evolve and being adaptable is just one part of customizing a plan.

Identify A Power Of Attorney

If someone is preparing to receive a period of treatment and recovery, they may want to appoint a power of attorney to help with their financial decisions while undergoing treatment. Establishing a durable power of attorney is not only helpful in situations you’re aware of, but also ones you may not see coming, in case they are to become disabled. Through the durable power of attorney, they can ensure decisions will be made and carried out properly. If the client is able to make decisions, the power of attorney can be revoked at any given time.

A living trust is also another option, in which the trust holds the assets and a successor trustee can manage while the client may be recovering or unable to do so themselves.

Find Backup

These decisions are never easy, and a client may not always be ready to make them. Frank recommends granting a family member the ability to add or remove a trustee, whether it just doesn’t work out or if the selected trustee is unable to do so.

Prepare The Trustee

To avoid distrust in a family during the difficult decisions of choosing a trustee, it is important to inform the trustee and your family so that it doesn’t come as a surprise later on. Communication throughout the entire process will instill trust within the family and everyone can be comfortable and acknowledge that the best decision is being made.

This is where trustee services can be helpful. They take the burden of decision-making off the family with experience and objectivity, while providing a steady hand to help manage family dynamics and communication. 

Planning applies to both permanent and temporary situations. Someone may be laid off from their job due to treatment or an accident, and they’ll need someone to step in and handle their rental properties. In such a case, having someone who has been actively involved and can aid without skipping a beat is better.

Transition times can be difficult, upholding communication throughout the entire process makes it easier on beneficiaries. It’s better to know too much than to know nothing at all. Unexpected things happen all the time, and it’s crucial to have preparation ready for any situation.

Every situation is different and requires a specialized plan. Having a flexible partner on your side to help create a plan will make decision-making easy. Whittier Trust offers holistic trustee services, estate planning consulting and family office services to take the burden off of your shoulders. 

For more information, you can download the full report here or visit Forbes to read more.

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