Special Needs Planning Attorney
Do You Need to Protect a Loved One with a Disability?
Whether someone you deeply care about is a child, spouse, or another relative living with a disability, you can include them in your estate plan. Special needs planning is a part of the estate planning process where you can make important decisions about what you’ll leave behind for someone with a mental or physical disability that can avoid affecting their eligibility for important public benefits.
We at Legacy Planning Group work with clients like you who want to leave behind crucial financial assets for those they love with disabilities. With careful consideration and planning, our attorney can provide the legal guidance you need to protect your loved one’s ability to benefit from an inheritance without risking their eligibility for low-income housing, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicaid.
Do You Have Life Insurance?
If you have a life insurance policy, Legacy Planning Group can help you plan a payout that goes directly to a special needs trust established for someone you love with disabilities. Life insurance payouts avoid probate and won’t be taxed as part of your estate, which means your beneficiary can get the most out of a successful policy.
Establish a Special Needs Trust
There are many different kinds of trusts that exist for a variety of purposes. A special needs trust is one that allows individuals to leave something behind for their loved ones with mental or physical disabilities.
If a relative or loved one with a disability already has their own assets, a first-party trust may be a plan that works best for them. You can fund their property into a first-party trust to protect their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other benefits without affecting how they currently or may wish to use what they already own. A first-party trust may be useful for a loved one who already has some wealth, but not enough to afford medical care or housing needs.
If anything is leftover in the trust when the primary beneficiary dies, it is used to reimburse the government for the beneficiary’s use of public benefits.
These types of trusts are often used by parents for children with special needs, but anyone with a disability can be named as a beneficiary. The grantor funds this type of trust with money or property as they might do for any other kind of trust. As with a first-party trust, the beneficiary may use whatever was funded into the trust without it affecting eligibility for public benefits.
An important distinction, however, is that whatever is left after the primary beneficiary passes away can pass on to another beneficiary or become a charitable donation. Reimbursing the government for the beneficiary’s use of public benefits is not necessary.
Pooled trusts are established by nonprofit organizations. These entities pool and invest the financial resources of multiple individuals. Each beneficiary is assigned a separate account to receive funds without affecting their eligibility for public benefits. When the beneficiary dies with money left in their account, a portion is used to reimburse the government for the beneficiary’s use of public benefits. The nonprofit managing the pooled trust then keeps the remaining portion.
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“Working with Geoff and his team was an easy and stress-free experience.”- Cheri M.