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Planning for Children With Special Needs

When planning for children with special needs, parents or caregivers need to really take a look into a trust called “special needs trusts.”  A Special Needs Trust is a trust that can supplement the needs of a special needs beneficiary while allowing the beneficiary to maintain his or her governmental benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security and Medicaid.

If the special needs trust is established by you or someone other than the disabled person and the disabled person does not have the legal right to demand trust assets, the trust is not considered a ‘countable resource’ for purposes of government benefits. Therefore, the special needs trust beneficiary can continue to receive benefits even though he or she is a trust beneficiary.

The ABLE Act

The ABLE Act can be a powerful tool to help you achieve your financial goals for you or your loved one. The ABLE Act was passed by Congress in early 2015.

Beneficiary’s Eligibility

If the special needs trust is established by you or someone other than the disabled person and the disabled person does not have the legal right to demand trust assets, the trust is not considered a ‘countable resource’ for purposes of government benefits. Therefore, the special needs trust beneficiary can continue to receive benefits even though he or she is a trust beneficiary.

If the trust is established on the beneficiary’s behalf pursuant to court order, for example as part of a personal injury settlement, the trust will not impact the beneficiary’s eligibility, but it may need to include a ‘payback’ provision that reimburses the state for its assistance before trust assets pass to the trust’s other beneficiaries.

Don’t Leave the Future of Your Special Needs Child to Chance

Common savings vehicles for children, like Uniform Transfer to Minor Acts (UTMA) accounts, typical trusts, or designating a retirement plan, insurance policy or annuity directly to an SSI or Medicaid recipient will cause a reduction or elimination of public benefits.

Promoting a high quality of life, dignity, personal choice, and financial security shouldn’t be left to chance. It will happen because we help you make it happen. Early intervention is key in planning for disability benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, and more.

With medical advancements, persons with disabilities are living longer and public benefits are often necessary, yet there is no guarantee that public benefits will provide adequate resources over the disabled person’s lifetime, or that existing public agencies will continue to provide acceptable services and advocacy over a disabled person’s lifetime. This requires special needs planning.

The trust will give the trustee the discretion to make distributions to the beneficiary to the extent possible without reducing benefits, and trust assets are available if the beneficiary no longer qualifies for governmental assistance or that assistance is no longer available.

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