Special Needs Planning
If you want to leave money or property to a loved one with a disability, you must plan carefully. Otherwise, you could jeopardize your loved one’s ability to receive means-tested benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits. By setting up a “special needs trust” in your will, you can avoid some of these problems. Parents and guardians can establish and fund a “third-party” special needs trust or supplemental needs trust to hold a disabled child’s inheritance and avoid terminating their government benefits.
But what happens when the person with special needs unexpectedly comes into their own money? This could be an unplanned inheritance or maybe even a settlement from a car accident. In some cases, a spend-down may be the best solution. But other options exist: the “first-party” special needs trust (also known as a self-settled special needs trust or d4A trust) and pooled special needs trust (also known as a d4c trust). “First-party” special needs trusts are discretionary trusts, just like “third-party” special needs trusts, but are subject to a Medicaid payback lien amongst other complex regulations to avoid being included as a countable resource. Pooled special needs trusts are similar to a “first party” special needs trust, except they are managed by a nonprofit organization instead of an individual trustee. Regardless of which kind of trust best fits your situation, care and consideration must be given to your particular situation to avoid a loss of benefits.
Navigating the available options to find the best fit for you and your family can be overwhelming. Our ELPO Law attorneys have the experience you are looking for along with the compassion needed to make sure you and your family are protected.
ELPO LAW ATTORNEYS:
Elizabeth J. McKinney
Leah A. Morrison