Special Needs Trust Lawyer
Tragic accidents happen every day. This is why every adult should have an estate plan in place. Even the healthiest of adults are killed in terrible accidents. Without an estate plan, how will you be assured your family will be taken care of should something happen to you? There are many different tools that can be used in an individual’s estate plan. Some of the most common are wills and trusts. Trusts are particularly popular because these accounts are not required to go through the probate process. When it comes to choosing the best type of trust for your particular situation, there are several to choose from.
One situation that many parents face is planning an estate plan when their child has special needs. There are a number of factors that need to be considered when establishing a trust for a special needs child. This is where a special needs trust may be the best choice.
What Is a Special Needs Trust?
Trusts are instruments used for an individual’s assets. The individual names a beneficiary who will retain ownership of those assets upon the individual’s death. The distribution of the assets will depend on the stipulations specified in the trust.
There are factors that parents of special needs children need to consider when establishing a trust for their child to ensure that the child will be taken care of after the parent dies. Many disabled people receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSD) and qualifications for those benefits are dependent on what type of assets the individual has. By establishing a special needs trust for their child, parents can be assured that their child’s health insurance and other benefits will not be jeopardized because of the inheritance they are leaving them.
How A Special Needs Trust Preserves Financial Resources
A person who is receiving SSI and Medicaid is not allowed to have more than $2,000 in assets. If they do, they lose these benefits and will not qualify again until all of their assets have been depleted. However, assets that are in a special needs trust do not count as the recipient’s assets.
Although parents and grandparents of a special needs child can provide for supplemental needs trust in their will, it is more beneficial to set up a special needs trust while still alive. This way, funds will be available immediately, and will not have to go through any probate process where there is always the risk that someone will contest your will and what your last wishes were.
It is also possible to create a special needs trust in advance of a disabled, minor child receiving significant financial resources, such as a personal injury lawsuit award or settlement. If these resources will disqualify the recipient from public benefits, it is imperative to establish a special needs trust that can be certified by the court or signed and sponsored by the parent or grandparent that will maintain the minor child’s eligibility for public benefits.
To learn more about special needs trusts, contact an estate planning law firm to speak to a special needs trust lawyer.