Does your family qualify for an “ABLE” account?

Families of individuals facing significant disabilities should consider contributions before year-end to A Better Life Experience (ABLE) account. States are now enacting enabling legislations, which along with federal law, will allow ABLE accounts to be set up for qualified individuals with disabilities (who became disabled before age 26) for tax years beginning after December 31, 2014. Contributions in a total amount up to the annual gift tax exclusion amount, currently $14,000, can be made to an ABLE account on an annual basis, and distributions are tax-free if used to pay qualified disability expenses.  The downside to these types of accounts is that they are a lot of reporting requirements, which will make them expensive to maintain.  In addition, another thing that might make families think twice before opening an ABLE account: Any money left over after a beneficiary’s death is used to reimburse Medicaid for his or her lifetime expenses.  They have taken away a major advantage of these accounts when they added a “payback” provision.


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