Special Needs Planning

If someone has a child with a disability then it is important to have their estate plan take this into consideration and have a Special Needs Trust prepared. A Special Needs Trust allows for Trust assets to be used to improve the quality of life of a disabled person or child while at the same time allowing the disabled person or child to maintain all governmental benefits they are or should be receiving. Special Needs Trusts are also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts.

Without a Special Needs Trust if a disabled person inherits assets then they will be disqualified from their government benefits such as SSI (Supplemental Social Security Income) and Medicaid. This is a tragedy that should be avoided. Often a disabled person has their medication paid for with their government entitlements. An inheritance that has to be used for paying for medication and other care needs will be used up in a short period of time. Also the disabled person usually has to wait a substantial period of time after re applying for their benefits to receive them again after the inheritance is used up.

Sometimes people exclude a disabled person from their estate plan under the incorrect assumption that the disabled person may not under any circumstances be provided for. Another mistake is to have a non disabled child “take care of the disabled child” by leaving more or all assets to the non disabled child. This fails to consider the death of the non disabled child, and creditors or divorce of the non disabled child.

The firm has substantial experience in qualifying clients for government benefits such as SSI and Medicaid and regularly prepares Special Needs Trusts to protect disabled persons. Please contact us today for a consultation if you wish to protect a disabled loved one with a Special Needs Trust.

The firm also represents Trustees of a Special Needs Trust in their proper administration so that government benefits are maintained. The firm can assist Trustees in dealing with governmental agencies, recommend what type of expenditures are currently permitted to improve the beneficiary’s quality of life and other typical Trust administration matters such as tax returns.

When someone dies without a Special Needs Trust and a disabled child inherits assets from them the firm can try to preserve the assets with Probate Court intervention. This is not the preferable way to provide for a disabled child but it can preserve government benefits for them. The general rule is always that planning ahead is the best way to protect your loved ones and especially a disabled loved one. If you have a disabled child you wish to benefit and protect call us to learn more.