What is an ABLE Account?

When families have family members with special needs to consider, one of the biggest concerns is determining who will take care of that person and support them when their primary caretakers pass away. In California, there are certain programs that may provide those with special needs with assistance so they are not left in the dark upon the passing of their caretaker.

California’s ABLE Accounts are financial trusts that ensure families that their disabled loved ones will be okay in the future. ABLE Accounts are not taxed and the money that is put into the account can be spent on specific expenses using a debit card that is connected to the account. Some of the expenses that money in an ABLE Account can be used for includes daily living expenses such as rent and housing, education, transportation expenses, heath care, copayments, legal fees, and other expenses that must be approved by the program.

In order to be considered eligible for an ABLE Account, you must have had the disability that allows you to have this account since before you were 26 years of age. However, you can be over the age of 26 years old upon the time in which you open the account. Some of the disabilities that can qualify for an ABLE Account include anything that results in a physical or mental impairment that will last more than one year or may result in the death of the person. The disabled person must not be able to work or participate in what is considered “substantial gainful activity,” or SGA. SGA means that the disabled person must not be able to earn more than $1,170 per month ($14,040 per year) as of 2017.

It is important to know that there are limits on the amount of money that can be deposited in the ABLE Account. Only $14,000 can be deposited into the account each year as of 2017, even if multiple persons are depositing money into the account.

ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts can be held at the same time, and it is a good idea to have both. Special Needs Trusts do not limit the amount of money that can be put into the trust. If you have questions about what ways you can help assist in the financial security of your disabled loved one now and after you pass away, you should consult with an experienced attorney who can provide you with assistance.

If you need the dedicated legal representation for wills, trusts, and estate matters in California, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation.