If there is someone in your life who needs your care and protection, you want that care and protection to continue after your death. Each individual's situation is different, so special knowledge and planning is critical to your estate plan.
According to an article in the American Bar Association, there are challenges to planning for an individual with special needs. First, the receipt of money by a special needs beneficiary will normally result in the disqualification of critical public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal and certain other benefits based upon need. The assets held in a Supplemental Needs Trust will not disqualify the beneficiary for such benefits. The Special Needs Trust is intended to supplement the benefits already received and provide money for uncovered expenses and improving the quality of the individual's life. Other challenges include how to treat other beneficiaries equitably while still meeting the needs of the disabled person. In addition, a beneficiary with special needs may be unable to manage an inheritance, so provisions must be made for proper distribution and management of the inheritance. Finally, the trust must be adequately funded in order to achieve your intended goals. If you make a Special Needs Trust part of your estate plan, your loved one will be able to inherit assets and use these assets to supplement public benefits and improve his or her quality of life. The trust can be used for expenses such as supplemental education or tutoring, transportation, and even movies or ball games.
If you have a loved one with special needs, an attorney who is experienced in special needs planning can give you peace of mind. The attorneys of the Law Offices of James C. Shields are knowledgeable, professional and compassionate. For more information on special needs planning, contact us.