Families with loved ones considered special needs face different challenges with estate planning than other families. Planning one’s estate can go far beyond deciding who gets what assets. Sometimes it is thinking of what will happen to dependent individuals that need continued support after we pass. The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman is honored to work with families who have such needs. Our firm provides a comforting and inviting atmosphere to discuss the care of family members that cannot fully care for themselves. Our firm frequently helps parents create trusts for children with autism, Asperger’s or physical disabilities. Contact a special needs trust attorney at our firm to address all concerns, including:
- Who will look after their loved one?
- How will the individual continue to receive public benefits?
- Will they be able to provide extra money to maintain their standard of living?
These issues may be difficult to consider and discuss. Our firm provides the comprehensive and compassionate estate planning services you and your family deserve. Setting up a trust for family members with special needs may be something you need to consider. If you do, our firm is ready to guide you through the matter at hand. If you need quality and caring legal support through the development and execution of a special needs trust, we would be honored to be of service. To schedule a consultation with a special needs trust attorney, contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman.
Why a special needs trust
A properly drafted special needs trust enables the beneficiary of the trust to benefit from supplemental resources and without discontinuing eligibility for certain government programs and public benefits most commonly, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California).
Types of special needs trusts
There are three main types of special needs trusts available in California: First party special needs trusts, third party special needs trusts, and pooled special needs trusts.
Third-party special needs trusts are constructed by someone else for the beneficiary. These trusts can be created during lifetime or at death. Many are funded using life insurance. Other family members, grandparents, siblings, aunt and uncles, and friends can make gifts to this type of trust.
A first party special needs trust can only be established by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian and is funded with the beneficiaries own funds. The trust must be irrevocable. The beneficiary must be under age 65. Public agencies, such as Medicaid retain reimbursement rights on death. Common circumstances for creating such a trust are when a beneficiary is to inherit funds or is to receive funds from a lawsuit or settlement
A pooled special needs trust takes assets from different members and “pools” them into a larger investment fund. A pooled SNT has requirements, including the establishment of a disability and the need for said trust to be developed through a nonprofit organization. It is important to discuss this matter with an experienced attorney that can help you make educated decisions that avoid effects to the subject’s public benefits.
How do special needs trusts function?
A special needs trust serves to manage the resources provided for the well-being of a special needs person. Creating a special needs trust can help families:
- Protect government benefits (because all assets belong to the trust, not the beneficiary)
- Provide supplemental funds (for a lifetime of health, comfort, well-being and support)
- Avoid probate
- Provide for funeral arrangements
One of the most important facets of a special needs trust is the protection of government benefits. Our firm will work to protect the subject’s entitlement to benefits, including:
- Supplemental Security Income
- In-Home Support Services
- HUD housing assistance
It is important to work with an experienced estate planning lawyer who knows how to craft a plan that is best for your family. Our firm can help create special needs trusts that stand alone or that are part of a bigger estate plan. We will look at each client’s complete picture to understand what options might work best. Often, our firm uses other estate planning tools to build greater protection, such as a durable power of attorney or a conservatorship.
Contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman
If you have a special needs family member who depends on your care, planning for his or her future by creating a special needs trust is important. Our firm has over 35 years of experience guiding families through these matters. We understand the hardship of making decisions about the future and we provide a warm and compassionate environment to address these issues. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a Woodland Hills special needs trust attorney, contact The Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman.