Estate Planning for Special Needs Family
Special Needs Trust/Supplemental Needs Trust
The best estate plans will consider the specific needs and interests of heirs and beneficiaries as well as the intentions and objectives of the testator and trustor. When a dependent family member has a developmental disability, a chronic illness, or a medical condition that interferes with employment, or even a severe problem with drugs or alcohol, a special needs trust usually is necessary to ensure the long-term support and care of your loved one.
The Benefits of a Special Needs Trust
The main objective in special or supplemental needs trust planning is to ensure that the beneficiary can enjoy the benefit of the trust without adversely affecting his or her eligibility for government benefits.
A carefully drafted special needs trust can thus ensure the following are not affected:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Any other assistance program
In order to do so, the benefits conferred in the special needs trust must not duplicate government program benefits. The assets cannot be owned by the beneficiary, and the trustee must have complete discretion under the terms of the trust to make distributions or investments.
Thorough Planning to Protect Your Heirs
During your lifetime, you can continue to provide care as you always have for your disabled or vulnerable family member and the special needs trust will take effect upon your death or incapacity. The selection of a trustee is an extremely important decision and care should be taken to choose the right person. While another family member may be an obvious choice, the possibility of a conflict of interest might make the appointment of a corporate trustee a better alternative.
Through our experience with special needs trusts, we will ensure that your intentions to care for a disabled loved one are carried out according to your wishes without jeopardizing any access to government benefits programs.