Elder Law Group - Empowering Senior Futures

August Newsletter 2018

Does Your Will have an Asset Protection Trust?
By Lynn St. Louis, Managing Partner at Elder Law Group PLLC

Family in the Woods

Elder Law Group PLLC helps clients preserve family assets while obtaining the Medicaid benefits they need.
What is a Will with an Asset Protection Trust?

A Will with an Asset Protection Trust protects assets for a surviving spouse or any beneficiary. To allow for flexibility, funding of the Trust can either be mandatory or contingent. If contingent, upon the death of the first spouse, a decision will be made at that time made whether to protect assets through funding the Asset Protection Trust for the surviving spouse with the deceased spouse’s assets. Importantly, the Asset Protection Trust shields assets from unnecessary depletion. Assets in the Trust are not considered “countable” by Medicaid or other government needs-based benefit programs. Thus a Will with an Asset Protection Trust avoids depleting funds unnecessarily and is especially useful if expensive Long-Term Care is needed by the surviving spouse. Couples can protect 50% to up to 100% of their estate from Long-Term Care expenses, creditors, and the State.

     A Will with an Asset Protection Trust not only protects assets for the surviving spouse but also for other beneficiaries should they need asset protection at the time they inherit. Furthermore, assets that remain in the trust ultimately will be distributed according to the wishes of the first spouse to pass, thus avoiding “unintentional disinheritance” of your beneficiaries due to unforeseen future events, such as remarriage.     

What about other Trusts, like Special Needs Trusts or Supplemental Needs Trusts?

     “Special Needs” or “Supplemental Needs” describes any trust intended to provide for the beneficiary without causing him or her to lose public benefits he or she may be entitled to receive.

     When individuals with special needs who receive government needs-based benefits receive money from personal injury settlements, inheritances or other sources, they can lose their public benefits. You can structure your estate so that you provide assistance to your disabled child or grandchild without jeopardizing their receipt of benefits.      

     The term “Special Needs” trust commonly is used to refer to a trust that a disabled person creates for themselves or for a disabled child. A “Supplemental Needs” trust often refers to a trust created by a third-person for someone, like a spouse or child, who would benefit from asset protection, though who would not be referred to as a person with “special needs”.

Asset Protection Trusts, Special Needs Trusts and Supplemental Needs Trusts are similar but have not just nuanced but significant differences.

Does the existence of an Asset Protection Trust, Special Needs Trust, or Supplemental Needs Trust qualify the beneficiary for public benefits?

No. The existence of an Asset Protection Trust, Special Needs Trust, or Supplemental Needs Trust does not itself make public benefits available. The beneficiary must meet eligibility criteria to qualify for the benefits program. If properly drafted and established, funds in the Trust will not interfere with eligibility for or cause a loss of benefits.

What about a Revocable Living Trust?

      A Revocable Living Trust can be a good Estate Planning tool for those who own property in other states. However, unless it is properly funded and administered, upon the Trustor’s death there will need to be both a trust administration and a probate. A primary goal of a Revocable Living Trust is to avoid probate, especially in states such as California where probate is expensive and complicated – which is not the case in Washington.

Also, it is very important to understand that Revocable Living Trusts Provide No Long-Term Care Benefit for a Surviving Spouse in Washington. In fact, Revocable Living Trusts can prove harmful to asset protection and Long-Term Care benefits planning in Washington. It is important to consult with a qualified Elder Law attorney if you have or are considering a Revocable Living Trust and live in Washington state.
Let us explore the Trust that is right for you.

For guidance on your Estate Plan, Long-Term Care planning, or other legal needs of seniors, the disabled, or vulnerable adults and their families, CALL ELDER LAW GROUP TODAY!

Meet our Attorney!
Liz Wallace
Liz Wallace joined Elder Law Group PLLC in 2015 as an Associate Attorney and now leads our Tri-Cities branch in Kennewick.

Liz was born in Spokane and then lived in Georgia and Iowa before returning to Spokane to attend Gonzaga School of Law. Her father died suddenly just after she graduated, and the passing of her mother just three years later gave Liz a unique perspective on the difficulties people must face during the long illness of a family member.

This understanding has fueled her interest in being part of a firm that provides excellent care and guidance for clients planning for and dealing with the difficulties presented by the Long-Term Care, illness, and loss of a loved one.

Liz is a great fan of the Pacific Northwest and the State of Washington. When she is not working, she is spending time with her wife, Wrane, and their three teenage daughters and various pets. They enjoy camping, river floating, reading by the fire, cooking, and playing pool.

  • Licensed to Practice Law in Washington and Idaho
  • Bachelor’s Degree – Central College, Pella, Iowa – 1999
  • Juris Doctor Degree – Gonzaga University School of Law – 2006
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Idaho State Bar Association
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
  • Washington Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (WAELA)
  • Rated “Excellent” by Avvo – an attorney-rating site that evaluates the experience, reputation and professional conduct. Learn more here.

Have questions? Ask us directly! CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED

Spokane Events

Estate Planning Workshops

The Role of Care Managers
in Estate Planning
Lynn St. Louis, Attorney and Managing Partner of Elder Law Group PLLC and guest speaker Jennifer Ama, President and Aging Life Care Manager at Family First Senior Care, will be on the north side of Spokane this month to provide insight and advice for Estate Planning and the part that Care Managers play. Learn why you should plan ahead for Long-Term Care Costs and how Estate Planning can protect your money and your loved ones.

Join us for this special free to the public educational workshop. Seating is limited.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Indian Trail Library
4909 W. Barnes Rd.
Spokane, WA 99208

Thursday, August 23, 2018, 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Shadle  Library
2111 W. Wellesley Ave.
Spokane, WA 99205


Tri-Cities Events 

Estate Planning Workshops

Planning Ahead
Elder Law Group Attorney Liz Wallace will answer questions on how you can protect your money from the costs associated with Long-Term Care and the importance of Planning Ahead.

These workshops are free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 4:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.
Kennewick Library
1620 Union St.
Kennewick, WA 99338

Thursday, August 23, 2018, 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Affinity at Southridge
5207 W Hildebrand Blvd
Kennewick, WA 99338


More Senior Events in Washington

In addition to attending one of our events, you may want to check out one of these wonderful opportunities below!


Arbor Crest Summer Concert Series
Cliff House, 4705 N Fruithill Rd, Spokane, WA
May 3, 2018 – September 30, 2018
Recurring weekly on Sunday, Thursday @ 5:30 PM
$5 Thursday; $10 Sunday

Click here to read more!

Pig Out in the Park 2018
Riverfront Park, Downtown Spokane
August 29, 2018 – September 3, 2018
11:00 AM to 10:00 PM – Free Admission

Click here to read more!

“Yellow Submarine” 50th Anniversary 
Bing Crosby Theater
901 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane, WA 
Wednesday, August 8 @ 6:30 p.m. – $15

Click here to read more!


Thursday Art Walk Night
Historic Downtown Kennewick
Every FIRST Thursday, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Free entry

Click here to read more!

North Pasco FreshPicks Saturday Farmers’ Market
6600 Burden Blvd, Pasco WA
Saturdays, June-October, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Click here to read more!

Alzheimer’s Series: The Basics
Kadlec Healthplex
1268 Lee Blvd, Richland WA
Tuesday, August 7, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Click here to read more!

We are happy to help.

Have a question or need to find a resource?
Check out our 
resource page for assistance.

Still not sure what to do?
Give us a call and let us guide you (509) 468-0551.

Empowering Seniors’ Futures
At Elder Law Group we empower seniors’ futures through Asset Protection Estate Planning™. We make sure our clients’ voices are heard and their assets protected.

Whether you are at the beginning of retirement and planning for the future or need assistance with Long-Term Care now, Elder Law Group provides guidance and resources to help you have the best quality of life possible.

With the complexities of the social and financial world we live in today, a traditional Estate Plan cannot protect you against Long-Term Care costs. Let Elder Law Group help give you the peace of mind you deserve through an Asset Protection Estate Plan.

Disclaimer: This newsletter is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice to the viewer or user. Use of this newsletter and its contents does not create or establish an attorney-client relationship or privilege of any nature between the user and owner.

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