Providing for your Disabled Child, Spouse, Parent or Other Beneficiary

If you have a special needs child, spouse, parent, or other loved one, you may be aware of the fact that leaving them an inheritance can trigger the loss of their means-tested government benefits, such as Medicaid, SSI, vocational rehabilitation, or subsidized housing. The solution may be to create what is commonly referred to as a Special Needs Trust, also known as a Supplemental Trust.

Unless you have a loved one with special needs, you may not realize that even with government assistance, many needs go unmet. For example, neither Medicaid nor SSI provide enough to cover dental care, the cost of a handicap accessible vehicle, or custodial care in the event your loved one needs constant or near constant assistance in their activities of daily living. This is why having a source of supplemental funds is critical. A Special Needs Trust/Supplemental Needs Trust provides this alternative because assets in the name of the Trust are not counted as belonging to the beneficiary. They are a form of Irrevocable Trusts.

As with all Trusts, the parties involved in this type of Trust are:

  • The Grantor or Settlor – the person establishing the Trust
  • The Trustee – the person or entity named to manage the Trust
  • The Beneficiary – the person receiving the benefits

Three other very important features that make a Special Needs Trust different:

  • The funds held in Trust are not subject to seizure by creditors
  • Money transfers into the Trust are exempt from the Medicaid 5-year “look back” period
  • Depending on whether it was funded with assets previously belonging to the beneficiary, or with assets previously belonging to someone else, the Trust may or may not require remaining assets be paid back to Medicaid upon the death of the beneficiary.

Special Needs Trusts Must Comply with Medicaid and SSI Rules

Be confident that the attorney you choose is knowledgeable about Florida Special Needs Trusts. Not every estate planning attorney is familiar with this area of law. Our firm specializes in special needs issues, public and government benefits programs, and the proper creation of these unique and critical trusts.

If you have questions, we are happy to answer them in depth.

Contact our firm for help with establishing a Trust for your loved one with a special need. Our full service practice in this area of law includes:

  • specifically counseling you regarding your unique needs
  • assessment of public benefits currently received
  • assessment of assets to be transferred into the Trust
  • outlining the steps necessary to create the Trust, drafting the proper documents, and help with the transfer of assets into the Trust

We understand the sensitive nature of special needs planning. In addition to drafting Florida Special Needs Trusts, we work closely with parents and caregivers to develop a well-thought-out plan for people that will require lifetime care.