Berman & Asbel, LLP

Planning for loved ones with special needs

If you have a family member with special needs, then chances are that you want to make sure that your loved one is taken care of. In many cases, setting up a special needs trust is the best way to do this.

A special needs trust makes sure that your loved one receives the resources he or she will need over time. A trust is managed by a “trustee” for the benefit of your loved one, the “beneficiary.” The trust lasts as long as necessary, but typically to the end of the beneficiary’s life.

Creating a special needs trust is often a much better idea than just gifting a loved one with special needs money for a couple of reasons. The main reason is because a special needs trust can make sure that the loved one still receives government benefits such as Social Security disability.

Acquiring a lump sum of assets can disqualify a disabled person from government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid or vocational services, but this can be avoided with a special needs trust. The special needs trust can also protect the assets from any judgments stemming from lawsuits or creditors.

Even if your loved one is currently not receiving government benefits, a special needs trust is still a good idea because it can address the many unique needs that a disabled person has. There is also no way of knowing if your loved one will need government assistance in the future, so this keeps the possibility open.

An experienced estate planning lawyer can go over all of the potential benefits of a special needs trust with you. It’s important to work with a lawyer to make sure that the trust is set up correctly so that your loved one’s future is protected.

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