A Special Needs Trust can be an important planning tool for families. As the beneficiary of the trust, a disabled person can have money available for items that can enhance the quality of life, while still maintaining eligibility for government benefit programs. A Special Needs Trust should be considered if you
Have received-or anticipate receiving-significant funds, for example, through a personal injury settlement, litigation, gift or inheritance;
Receive need-based government benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid;
Are not currently enrolled in these programs, but could benefit from the income and services available through such need-based government programs.
A Special Needs Trust offers the following advantages:
It allows you to transfer your assets into the trust without incurring any transfer penalty for the purpose of SSI or Medicaid eligibility.
It allows you to have funds available for supplemental goods and services without jeopardizing eligibility for government benefit programs that have income or resource limits. Trust assets can be used to purchase equipment and services that are not paid for by benefit programs but are important to the quality of life.
It provides a structure for accountability and for managing financial assets to your benefit.
Allows designation of successor trustees, to assure that there will be an individual or entity responsible for the management of the trust assets throughout your lifetime.
It can be coordinated with other parts of the family's estate plan and designated to receive additional funds, such as inheritances or gifts from family members. This minimizes the risk of your disqualification from government benefit programs due to excess resources.
Attorneys at the Depot Law Offices regularly advise clients in this complicated area of the law. Please contact us today to see if a Special Needs Trust is right for your particular situation.