Special Needs Planning
Who will take care of your loved one with special needs after you die?
Many people initially assume that they can provide for their loved one with special needs – be it a child, spouse or relative – by leaving them an inheritance. However, the reality is that leaving your legacy to a loved one with special needs can have toxic consequences such as terminating their eligibility for disability benefits.
Even with the best of intentions and efforts from caring families, very few individuals with special needs can receive the best level of care without disability benefits. In fact, such benefits provide access to superior government programs designed for those with disabilities, including: physical therapy, in-home nursing programs, wheelchairs, assisted living programs, hospital beds, medical care as well as access to social workers and social services that can help with day-to-day care.
But what if your loved one suddenly becomes ineligible for these benefits after you die? Ironically, without a well-planned Special Needs Trust, your good intentions to leave your estate to your loved one could make them ineligible for government assistance upon your death if they receive an inheritance from you.
Fortunately, families no longer need to disinherit their children, spouses or relatives with special needs to ensure they will continue to receive much needed disability benefits for the remainder of their lives.
Using a legal instrument to express the specific details of care you insist upon for your family member with special needs will solidify his or her future and provide you with peace of mind.
Creating a Special Needs Trust for your loved one will enable you to protect your special needs family member by:
- Planning in advance for day-to-day care for the rest of his/her lives
- Leaving financial assets to be used specifically for his/her care
- Protecting your family member’s legal rights and access to disability benefits
The laws surrounding special needs trusts can be complicated and must be carefully navigated to ensure that your loved one will have access to the high level of care provided through your assets without losing eligibility to significant government disability benefits. Because each family’s situation is unique, it is important to work with an attorney who understands the complexity and nuances of the laws surrounding estate planning and financial management. Moreover, if you currently have a financial advisor, we can work with him/her to make the best decisions regarding how to fund your Special Needs Trust.