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Driscoll Anderson Reynard LLP > Special Needs Trust Planning

Special Needs Trust Planning

Special Needs Trust Planning

Special Needs Trusts (often called Supplemental Needs Trusts) allow people with disabilities or illnesses to have assets held in trust for their care. Families who have a family member with a disability must plan for the future very carefully; how assets are left after your death can have a tremendous impact on the quality of life for that person. If you are the mother, father, brother, sister, or loved one of a person with special needs, such as a developmental disability or mental illness, you may have concerns about what will happen to him or her after you are gone.

Many families turn to a special needs trust as a method to provide for care without jeopardizing government benefit eligibility.

In the past, a will may have been enough, but times have changed. To protect a person with special needs, a well-defined estate plan is vital. You may want to give property or assets to your loved one in order to ensure he or she will receive adequate care. But by outright gifting property to your disabled loved one, you may jeopardize their eligibility for benefits. On the other hand, if the special needs trust is drafted properly then assets in it will not be counted for the purposes of considering qualification for certain benefits. These may include supplemental security income (SSI), Medicaid, and certain housing benefits.

How A Special Needs Trust Works

A Special Needs Trust allows a parent, grandparent or guardian to provide funds for a disabled child without disrupting the child’s eligibility for government aid. Setting one up is a fairly simple process.

When estate planning for a Special Needs Trust, it’s important to remember to:
  • Decide on an appropriate guardian for your child
  • Determine who would be a suitable trustee(s) to manage the trust’s assets and supervise your child’s finances
  • Outline instructions for your child’s education, housing, and personal and emotional needs

Our law firm helps families address the financial, legal and social aspects of a person’s life to develop an effective plan for the future. Our attorneys can set up a Special Needs Trust for your child so that, upon your death, any inheritance would be paid to the trust rather than directly to your child. This ensures that government benefits continue and that the trust income can help pay for additional services. Our goal is to ensure that your family member’s needs are met, and that they have the opportunity to expand their horizons and follow their dreams.