Book helps with estate planning


COLUMBUS — The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council has released a new book designed to improve understanding of the different strategies available for estate and special needs planning for individuals with disabilities, their families and others.

“Planning for Bright Tomorrows: Estate and Future Planning for Ohioans with Disabilities and Those Who Love Them” was authored by Dublin attorneys Logan K. Philipps and William K. Root. The book provides a complete overview of the different estate planning options available to families and individuals who have a disability.

Programs that people with disabilities rely on, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income, include strict income and asset limits. According to Philips, naming a loved one with a disability in a will or trust can upset the balance of income or assets available to that individual and may cause them more harm than good.

“Proper estate planning is important for the disability community. If done incorrectly, government benefits can be lost,” said Philipps, who is an attorney at Resch, Root, Philipps, & Graham, an estate planning firm with a focus on helping people with disabilities and their families.

The book is an update and overhaul on a previous book released by the Ohio DD Council and includes changes to Medicaid, Trusts, and incorporates the new STABLE Account option available to individuals with disabilities.

“The goal of the book is to provide a non-technical explanation of what benefits are out there and to ensure how the individual or family member can keep them,” added Root, who is also a parent of child with a disability.

Carolyn Knight, executive director of the Ohio DD Council, said the book was important because it illustrates how a lack of a plan can cause problems for a loved one with a disability.

“Every time a person with a disability or a family member is asked about a new program, their first question is always, ‘how will this affect my current benefits’,” said Knight. “Logan and Bill have done a masterful job of explaining these complex options in a way that families and individuals can understand.”

Copies of “Planning for Bright Tomorrows: Estate and Future Planning for Ohioans with Disabilities and Those Who Love Them” can be obtained by contacting the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. Electronic versions of the book are also available on the council’s website, ddc.ohio.gov.