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Benefits Of A Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust Lawyer

If you have a special needs child, you likely have many concerns over what would happen to your child if you were no longer here. Tragically, the number of people killed in accidents caused by the negligence of others each year is high. Having an estate plan in place to protect your child is critical. One of the most beneficial estate planning tools is a trust. Many people choose to put their assets in a trust and name a beneficiary rather than leaving those assets to the beneficiary in a will because there is no probate process with a trust. In fact, when the person dies, ownership of those assets passes directly to the beneficiary without any type of waiting period.

There are many different types of trusts to choose from, depending on the family situation. Parents of special needs or disabled children often use special needs trusts to ensure their child will be taken care of when they are no longer here.

The following is a brief overview of special needs trusts from a  special needs trust lawyer from Silverman Law Office, PLLC.

How Do Special Needs Trusts Work?

In many situations, a disabled person is eligible to receive benefits from the government that includes a monthly stipend amount to cover their living expenses, health insurance, and other benefits. However, these programs usually have limits to the amount of income and assets the recipient can have.

For example, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) places limits of $2,000 in assets that a recipient is allowed to have. If the recipient has more than that amount, they will lose their benefits and cannot qualify until all of their assets have been depleted.

However, a special needs trust lawyer can set put up a trust fund where parents can place assets to make sure there are funds available to meet all of their child’s needs in the event the parent dies. Since the funds remain in a trust, the government doesn’t consider them the child’s assets and therefore, their benefits will not be affected.

In addition to a parent or other loved one setting up a special needs trust with their own assets, a lawyer can also set up a special needs trust with any personal injury settlement or lawsuit awards the child may receive. For example, if the child is disabled due to a birth injury and receives a medical malpractice award, those funds will be protected in a special needs trust, enabling the child to still qualify for SSI and Medicaid.

In order to set up a special needs trust for a child or any other family member that is disabled, the following criteria must be met. The beneficiary of the trust must be under the age of 65 when the trust is set up, the disability must be one that is recognized by Social Security, and the trust must be an irrevocable one. This means that once the trust has been set up, it can never be dissolved, either by the trustee named to oversee the trust or the beneficiary themselves.

There also must be a provision in the trust that when the beneficiary dies, any assets that remain in the trust are turned over to the state’s Medicaid program.

To learn more about special needs trusts, contact a seasoned special needs lawyer for legal assistance.