If you have a loved one with disabilities, working with a Special Needs Trust Attorney is important. This will help them protect their government benefits and ensure that they’re financially taken care of in the future.
Do you have a loved one with special needs? If so, you may be considering establishing a special needs trust to provide financially for that person after you die. A Special Needs Trust (SNT) sometimes referred to as a “supplemental needs trust”, is designed to provide for the beneficiary’s future care and maintenance in addition to providing liquidity to meet short-term goals. This trust has the advantage of providing for a family member with special needs without risking the eligibility of their government benefits like Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid.
This article will explore what special needs trusts are, how they work, who can establish one, how much it costs to set up or change an existing special need trust, and more!
An SNT or a special needs trust works as a legal arrangement designed to provide income to a disabled individual. A benefit is that the disabled individual can receive income from the trust and will still remain eligible for public assistance.
These trusts are most often used with a person who has been diagnosed with any type of disability. This may include physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities. This trust is a good way to provide more money for someone with special needs without them risking losing their disability benefits.
A special needs trust is a fiduciary relationship. This means the fiduciary puts the interests of the disabled person before themselves. Actions in a fiduciary relationship are always in the best interest of the disabled person. In this case, the fiduciary would act on behalf of the disabled individual to help manage their money and other assets.
A special needs trust is created to provide for an individual with disabilities when they cannot take care of themselves. This may include providing food, clothing, shelter, and medical expenses (such as doctor’s visits or medication) in addition to any other specific personal needs the beneficiary has.
With our experience, we know there are a lot of questions related to these topics. We understand there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to establishing protections for your family and loved ones.
We also know that different situations call for different needs, so please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.
If you are considering a special needs trust, we’ve outlined a few benefits. Each situation is usually unique and should be planned for as such to ensure proper care of a family member with special needs.
The costs of setting up and maintaining these trusts vary depending on who you decide to use as your trustee, whether or not there are additional beneficiaries (such as the parent of the disabled individual), and if this is an initial trust or amending an existing one.
A special needs trust is a great way for people with disabilities to cover the percentage of their financial costs that are not covered by public assistance payments. When consideration of qualifying for public assistance is a priority, note that assets in a trust do not count. Money from this type of trust can be used for medical expenses, payments for caretakers, transportation costs, and other allowable expenses.
Once the trust is created and funded, the determination of a trustee is the next crucial step. A trustee is a person or entity that maintains control over the trust and manages the trust for the disabled individual. Trustees are responsible for making sure the beneficiary’s needs are met all while maintaining eligibility for government benefits.
A trustee can be a family member, friend, or even an attorney who specializes in creating trusts like these. The trust allows you to designate how much money is available each month and what that money can be used for. This also includes whether there are any limits on where the money can be spent.
A third-party special needs trust may be established by anyone, not just family members. These trusts are generally created with assets of family members or other relatives or friends, rather than with assets transferred by the beneficiary themself.
A first-party special needs trust, however, may only be established by a parent, grandparent, guardian, or a court. A first-party trust means it consists of the beneficiary’s own assets. This is known as a d4a trust. If someone is already eligible and receiving Medicaid then a first-party trust would be used to govern funds from a previous court settlement or inheritance.
If you’re still unsure whether a special needs trust is right for your situation? Give us a call or schedule a free consultation. John Diamantis, owner of Heritage Law, has a wealth of knowledge on deciding the best course to protect a special needs family member. Heritage Law will help you towards creating a plan that suits all short-term goals as well as long-term objectives.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues that provides cash to meet the basic needs of individuals who are disabled, blind, elderly, or both and have limited income and resources. Basic needs are things like food, clothing, and shelter.
Supplemental security income is an important consideration when planning a special needs trust as the primary goal is to provide income for a disabled family member without compromising his or her eligibility for government assistance programs.
An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings or investment account eligible to those with severe disabilities. It is often referred to as an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account.
It was designed to give individuals with disabilities access to resources for their personal, adaptive, and assistive devices as well as living expenses.
In conclusion, an ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings account that can be used by those with disabilities to save money for the future. The funds in these accounts will not affect their eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). However, contributions to ABLE accounts are limited to $15,000 per year and can hold up to $100,000 without hurting a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiary’s eligibility, whereas there is no limit on contributions to special needs trusts.
It is important to work with an attorney when establishing or changing an existing trust in order to ensure that your loved one is cared for and that you meet all the necessary requirements.
In conclusion, a special needs trust is designed to provide the support that would otherwise be provided by a parent or guardian after they have passed away. If you are considering establishing one or more of these trusts, it’s important to work with legal professionals who understand them and can help you through the process.
At Heritage Law, we have the experience necessary to get it done right!
Call us today at 1-402-915-1039 if you would like to set up a special needs trust for your family. We do not charge for consultations.