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FAQ – Documents

What documents are included in the program?

As part of the program, we prepare a will, property power of attorney, and health care power of attorney for you, and a third-party supplemental needs trust for your child. In addition, we prepare a memorandum regarding asset titling and beneficiary designations, a memorandum regarding supplemental needs trust implementation, and an estate plan illustration to accompany the legal documents. The program does not include preparation of a self-funded (“(d)(4)(A)”) supplemental needs trust.

Can the documents be amended?

Your will and powers of attorney may be amended at any time. The supplemental needs trust generally may not be amended, except that it may be modified to comply with applicable law, and it includes flexibility to update the succession of trustees. In addition, until the trust is actually funded, you can effectively make other desired changes by creating a new supplemental needs trust with your desired terms and updating your will and beneficiary designations to pour into the new trust.

Are the powers of attorney for me or for my child?

The powers of attorney are for you. They name a succession of people to make medical and financial decisions for you in the event of your incapacity.

How do these documents differ from those you provide your regular clients?

The documents themselves do not differ from those we provide our regular clients, except that the document choices are more limited. For example, we do not prepare living trusts or incorporate estate tax planning provisions as part of the program. In addition, to minimize the complexity of the planning, and thereby to help keep program costs down, we place limits on the choices of fiduciaries and on the alternatives for distributing assets at death.

View Program Limitations
What limitations are there in my document choices?

The limits on fiduciaries choices and the alternatives for distributing assets at death are listed here:

View Specific Limitations on Document Choices
What if I want document provisions outside of those limitations?

If the limitations do not work for your family, we encourage you to consult either with another estate planning attorney that has supplemental needs planning experience or with our office outside of the pro bono program in order to prepare appropriate documents for you.

What if the supplemental needs trust is funded and then my child doesn’t need or isn’t approved for benefits?

If the supplemental needs trust is funded but your child does not ultimately receive public benefits, the trust will continue to operate for your child’s benefit. The trustee will still be required to make distributions to providers of goods and services for your child, instead of directly to your child, but the nature of those distributions would not be limited. If your child is not receiving benefits, the trustee may make distributions for your child’s food, shelter, and medical care in addition to distributions for other purposes that enrich the quality of your child’s life.

What if our family moves to a different state?

We include a provision in the supplemental needs trust permitting the trustee to modify the trust to comply with applicable law, including the law of a new state of residence for the beneficiary. If your child or you move to a different state after you have completed this program, we recommend that you consult with an estate planning attorney that has supplemental needs planning expertise in your new location to review the supplemental needs trusts, as well as your other documents, to determine what changes, if any, are required.

Do I have to update the documents if I have more children?

Your documents will be drafted to be self-adjusting if you have additional children so that any child born after you complete your documents will be included on the same terms as any other child that does not have special needs. However, if you have an additional child or there are other changes in your family situation, we recommend that you review your estate plan generally to ensure that it continues to reflect your wishes.

"My daughter is seven and is affected with autism disorder along with apraxia. Due to her disability, we always hoped to be able to get our documents created while my daughter was young but never thought it was a reality because of cost and an agency that understood special needs. This program supports you through the emotional journey of creating your documents with clarity, understanding, and ease, and caring and professional staff. Thank you Rivkin and Rivkin for your generosity and kindness to our family and others with this program."

– I.C. of Wheaton

"The team at Rivkin & Rivkin made this potentially complicated and expensive task seem easy."

– J.S. of Lake Zurich

"This is such a great program. This was something we needed to get done for years and this program made it possible and simple. Talented people who understand the needs of special loved ones. THANK YOU!"

– M.U. of Lindenhurst