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When you have a child or loved one with special needs, you may worry about their health, happiness and safety today and in the future. Proper estate planning can help assuage these concerns and ensure that they are well taken care of when you're no longer around. Our experienced wills and trusts attorneys at Giro & Associates, LLC can help you create a special needs trust that safeguards any benefits they may receive, protects their interests, and maximizes the inheritance they receive.
Sometimes called a supplemental care trust, a special needs trust preserves the beneficiary's eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid, Section 8 housing, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To be eligible for these programs, typically a person must meet certain asset limits that do not exceed $2,000. Leaving money or assets to someone who receives Medicaid and SSI can jeopardize their benefits. A special needs trust allows them to remain eligible for these benefits because the beneficiary does not own the assets in the trust. Special needs trusts are usually created by parents for their children, but almost any adult can set up a trust for someone.
You can ensure the proper usage of your legacy by putting it in a trust. In addition to protecting your special needs beneficiary and their eligibility for government benefits, including a special needs trust as part of your estate plan can prevent assets from being squandered. Assets in a supplementary needs trust may only be used by the named trustee for the wants and needs of the beneficiary.
Some parents believe that giving assets to other family members to take care of a loved one is sufficient for improving or maintaining the quality of life that they're used to. Unfortunately, these funds can easily be misused and circumstances change, which could leave your loved one with special needs high and dry.
The aim of a supplemental care trust is to enhance the quality of life of a beneficiary with a disability. Although the trust can pay for many things, it's important for the trustee to be careful about paying for things like food and shelter, as they could reduce the SSI benefits the beneficiary receives. Funds may be used to pay for things like:
Our estate planning lawyers understand how important it is to ensure your loved one is well cared for. Knowing that your loved one with a disability can still enjoy what they love and have their needs met after you're gone can make a tough transition easier.
At Giro Law Offices, we handle all aspects of estate planning and setting up a special needs trust. Our knowledgeable trusts attorneys can assist you with matters such as:
Although practically any type of property can be held in a special needs trust, its primary purpose is to pay for items for the beneficiary. Therefore, it's best to add cash or give the trustee the authority to manage investments and sell tangible items like vehicles, jewelry, and other property to raise funds.
Often, the person who creates the trust (grantor), initially puts just a small amount of money into it. They can then leave assets to the trust in a will or revocable living trust. They may also name the trust as a beneficiary on assets like life insurance policies, retirement plans, and brokerage accounts. Our New Jersey estate planning lawyers ensure that the trust is set up properly to protect your loved one's interests.
It's important to keep in mind that the trustee must have a decent understanding of public benefit programs and which items and services a special needs trust can and cannot be used for. They should also be up to the task of keeping accurate records, filing and paying taxes, investing trust assets, and staying up-to-date on changes in the law.
Administering a special needs trust can be a lot of work. If you're considering naming a loved one as trustee, make sure they have the time and willingness to keep up with their duties as trustee and the beneficiary's needs. You can also hire a professional such as an accountant, trust company, professional fiduciary, or trust administration lawyer to act as trustee.
If you want to create a supplementary needs trust for a child, grandchild, or another loved one with a disability, we can help. Our Hackensack estate planning attorneys are dedicated to helping you create a comprehensive estate plan personalized to meet your specific requirements, protect your family's interests and maximize their inheritance without jeopardizing benefits.
At Giro & Associates, LLC, we provide competent, compassionate legal services you can count on. Our dedicated team of elder law attorneys, estate planning lawyers, and family law attorneys has years of experience serving families in Hackensack, NJ, and surrounding areas. To schedule a consultation, contact us today.
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