How Can I Protect a Loved One With Special Needs In My Estate Plan?

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Taking the time to carefully plan your estate is always important, but it is especially crucial when you have a loved one with special needs who might need care or more help after you are gone. Fortunately, there are some ways to keep assisting the people you love after you are gone, and a Woodland Hills special needs trust attorney can help you find the best way to protect your family members.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust helps provide for your loved one without jeopardizing their access to government benefits. Many people with special needs rely on government benefits, and an improperly planned inheritance could make them ineligible for them.

If someone passes away and simply leaves a loved one a lump sum of money, that can be a problem. The state and federal government can look at someone who just received some money and say “You are too well off to get these benefits.”

That may not seem fair, but it is how things work. Putting an inheritance in a trust is different though. The assets do not belong to your loved one. The assets all belong to the trust, thus they cannot count against your family member when they seek out benefits.

What Can a Special Needs Trust Be Used For?

State and federal benefits are meant to provide for the basic needs of your loved one. Your trust can help distribute the other funds that they would need to stay comfortable and live a full life. The money from your special needs trust can be used to purchase clothing, tools and supplies for hobbies, and even tickets for entertainment or sporting events. Your loved one can continue to enjoy their life because you took the extra steps to take good care of them.

Which Benefits Can My Loved One Still Qualify For?

When a special needs trust is properly set up, your loved one can still qualify for state and federal benefits. This can include:

  • Housing assistance from the HUD, or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Supplemental security income, commonly known as SSI
  • Medi-Cal or Medicaid
  • In-home support services

All of these services can be crucial for someone with special needs who just wants to live a normal life. A properly established trust will ensure that they keep getting the benefits they require while you supply them with enough money for their other needs and wants.

Who Should I Set as the Trustee?

Choosing the right trustee for your special needs trust is crucial. The beneficiary can rarely be in charge of the trust themselves. Some people choose a family member, while others choose a professional who knows the ins and outs of a special needs trust.

Consult an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

If you want to learn more about how an attorney can help you protect your loved ones after you pass, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman. We know how stressful this can be, but we are ready to help you make a plan and put your mind at ease.

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