Disability Trusts & ABLE Savings
Are you or a loved one concerned about a disabled family member’s well being after you pass on? Are you concerned your disabled loved one will be unable to care for themselves or manage finances, or that an irrevocable trust doesn’t meet their needs? Last year, the Florida Legislature passed a bill designed to meet the unique needs of families with disabled dependents. Able United is a unique savings and bank program designed specifically for Florida special needs residents and their families. Previously, this blog’s authors discussed special needs trusts for persons with disabilities. Additional programs offered to Florida residents include the Able United savings account. ABLE accounts allow special needs individuals to save money with interest in the dedicated account without affecting their state or federal sponsored disability benefits. ABLE stands for the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, but the program is funded and managed on the state level.
Understanding Disability Benefits
Floridians have the option to set up a disability trust as part of their end-of-life planning needs if they are the primary caregiver for a disabled dependent or loved one. Aside from creating a revocable or irrevocable trust, a disability trust is specifically designed to meet the needs of families caring for a disabled child or adult dependent. It includes tax protections and incentives and does not preclude the disabled dependent’s eligibility in Medicare or other state-based medical assistance for treatment and medical care.
Even with the creation of a disability trust and a potential windfall for the disabled dependent upon the decedent’s death, the disabled child or adult still retains eligibility for SSI (Supplemental Support Income) or SSDI (Supplemental Support Disability Income). Special needs trusts also designate a primary trustee and secondary trustee for the disabled child as well as a specific plan of care to be adhered to as requested by the decedent. It is the trustee’s responsibility to manage trust funds, enroll in the ABLE program and ensure the disabled loved one is receiving the same quality of care they did prior to the decedent’s passing.
Florida Statute 109.986: Florida ABLE Program
The Florida ABLE account was established in 2020 to better serve the needs of caregivers, family members and disabled Floridians. The savings account allows decedents to designate funds specifically for special needs family members without tax implications. Any savings accumulated is interest-bearing and can be used to pay qualified disability expenses for individuals with documented disabilities.. The family must enroll in a participating agreement with the ABLE bank, and the program must qualify under the Internal Revenue Code as an account that manages qualified disability expenses. Florida ABLE operates under the authority of the Florida Prepaid College Board and is independently audited on a yearly basis. The statute establishes that a beneficiary is only eligible if they are a resident of Florida.
Call to schedule a consultation
If you or someone you know have questions about irrevocable or revocable trusts, disability trusts or other end-of life planning mechanisms, contact our Tampa estate planning attorneys at Bubley & Bubley, P.A. With over five decades of combined experience, our attorneys are experienced and dedicated to finding solutions for our clients. Schedule a consultation today to review your estate planning options.