Looking after a disabled family member is a main priority for many Australians. For some, this may require being the primary carer and providing around the clock care.
While every family has different circumstances, if you’re the primary carer for your disabled loved one, it’s vital to think about how they will be cared for after you pass away. If your family member is dependent on you in everyday life, you need to ensure they will be well looked after when you’re not around.
Making preparations in advance is essential so your loved one will have easy access to the care and services they need when you’re unable to help them. This is where a Special Disability Trust Will comes in.
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 including disability support pension or their health care card.
In the circumstance of your death, the Will sets up a trust that receives the funds you’re leaving to your beneficiary and can pay for their care throughout their lifetime.
Who is Eligible for a Special Disability Trust Will?
Any individual with a severe disability (e.g. physical, intellectual, psychiatric, behavioural or medical condition) will qualify as a beneficiary of a Special Disability Trust Will. They must also meet certain Centrelink or Veteran’s Affairs qualifications.
Why do I need one?
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 does it work?
The Trust allows the disabled family member to receive a set amount of funds annually to pay for their care including:
- Medical expenses
- Private health fund expenses
All the while, the beneficiary will still be able to receive income support and use their health care card.
As of July 2018, the beneficiary can have $669,750 (indexed annually) plus a residence held in trust before the assets test applies to their social security entitlements. The Trust also allows up to $11,000 a year in discretionary expenditure. For instance, the Trust can pay for items which improve the beneficiary’s mental and physical health, wellbeing, recreation, social inclusion and independence.
How do I set 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 through a lawyer. You should always use the services of a lawyer when creating or making changes to a pre-existing Will in order to fully understand technical legal terms. Getting professional advice reduces the risk of the Trust not being set up properly and your disabled beneficiary losing their pension and health care card.
At Le Brun & Associates Hawthorn, we will work with you personally to understand your needs and prepare a tailored Will that meets your individual requirements. If you need advice or more information on Special Disability Trust Wills or Estates, we can discuss your needs during a free 30 minute consultation. Contact us here to find out more.