Special Needs Trust Planning for Secure Futures

Planning ahead with a special needs trust is a proactive step that ensures the financial security and well-being of a loved one with disabilities. Special needs trusts are designed to provide for the extra and supplemental needs of individuals with disabilities without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Here are some key considerations and steps involved in setting up a special needs trust:

Understanding the Purpose: A special needs trust is intended to enhance the quality of life for a person with disabilities by providing for expenses that government benefits do not cover. This can include personal care attendants, out-of-pocket medical expenses, education, travel, and recreational activities.

Choosing the Right Type of Trust: There are several types of special needs trusts, including first-party trusts (funded with the beneficiary’s own assets), third-party trusts (funded with assets from someone other than the beneficiary, like a parent or grandparent), and pooled trusts (managed by nonprofit organizations with funds pooled for investment purposes, but separate accounts maintained for each beneficiary). Each type has its specific uses, benefits, and limitations.

Selecting a Trustee: Choosing a reliable and trustworthy trustee is crucial. The trustee manages the trust’s assets and makes distributions on behalf of the beneficiary. The trustee can be a family member, friend, or professional such as an attorney or a corporate trustee. It’s also wise to appoint a successor trustee in case the original trustee can no longer serve.

Funding the Trust: A special needs trust can be funded with various assets, including cash, securities, real estate, and life insurance policies. Consider how much money will be needed to adequately provide for the beneficiary’s needs over their lifetime.

Drafting the Trust Document: An attorney with experience in special needs planning can help draft the trust document, ensuring it complies with state and federal laws and reflects your specific intentions for the care and support of your loved one.

Coordinating with Government Benefits: It’s important to structure the trust so it doesn’t disqualify the beneficiary from receiving government benefits. The trust should specify that the funds are to be used for supplemental needs beyond what government benefits provide.

Communicating with Family Members: Ensure that family members are aware of the special needs trust and understand its purpose. This is particularly important for those who might consider leaving assets to your loved one with special needs in their wills or as beneficiaries of life insurance policies.

Regular Reviews and Updates: Like all estate planning tools, a special needs trust should be reviewed periodically and updated as necessary to reflect changes in laws, the beneficiary’s needs, and family circumstances.

Taking the step to set up a special needs trust is a profound way to provide for a loved one’s future, ensuring they have the resources they need while preserving their eligibility for vital government benefits. Navigating the intricacies of special needs planning requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Our experienced team is here to guide you through every step of creating a special needs trust tailored to your unique situation. Don’t leave your loved one’s future to chance. Reach out to us today to start the conversation and secure the support and care your loved one deserves. Call Linda Solash-Reed, P.L. Call at 321-804-2915 or fill out our contact form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.