Setting Up a Special Needs Trust

If you are planning to leave money or property to a loved one with a disability when you pass away, you should plan carefully. Without a proper plan in place, you may put your loved one's ability to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid benefits at risk. If someone in your family has special needs, an elder law attorney can help you set up a special needs trust.

Usually, when a person receives government benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid, any gifts or inheritance can reduce or eliminate this eligibility. Although ownership of a house, furnishings, a car, and personal effects does not affect any eligibility for SSI or Medicaid, other assets, such as cash in the bank, may disqualify your loved one from receiving government benefits. By setting up a special needs trust in your will, you can avoid many of these problems.

Since there is a specific set of rules that must be followed when creating a special needs trust, you should meet with a elder law attorney to properly set up this asset. While a special needs trust is funded with the assets of the beneficiary, these proceeds can’t be directly received by the beneficiary. Any proceeds need to be put directly into a special needs trust to be properly used by your beneficiary without minimizing any eligibility for government benefits. 

Special needs trusts are used to pay for things that cannot be paid for by using funds from public assistance or other government benefits. Special needs trusts are typically used to pay for the following items:

•           Medical Expenses

•           Dental Care

•           Specially-Equipped Vans or Vehicles

•           Education

•           Transportation

•           Computers

•           Trips

To learn more about the benefits of special needs trusts, contact an experienced elder law attorney in your area.