Providing for a loved one with special needs in your estate plan requires that you be aware of and take into consideration some special legal and practical considerations.
A special needs trust can be established for the benefit of a minor or adult special needs child (or other family member) in either of two basic ways. One is to include the provisions to establish it as part of your living trust or will, to take effect upon your death. The other is to establish a “stand-alone” special needs trust which takes effect as soon you establish it.
Those with special needs are often dependent upon government assistance programs to meet their basic needs. The two most prominent of those are Medicaid, which is available to pay for medical care and supplemental security income (“SSI”), which provides funds to pay for the basic necessities – food, clothing and shelter. Eligibility for both programs requires that the recipient have very limited financial resources.
A direct bequest to someone who is receiving Medicaid or SSI assistance can, in fact, do that person more harm than good. It can, and most often does, immediately disqualify him or her from receiving government assistance until the inheritance is spent down.
Dent-Coulson Elder Law can help you take the first step to understand and consider the best way to legally assure that your special needs child or family member can be properly provided for, and assist you on the road ahead.