What is a Special Needs Trust in California?

Families of persons with special needs always try to do what they can to make sure that the disabled person is taken care of, after their primary caretakers are deceased. There are a number of programs that can assist in this goal, one of which being a Special Needs Trust. The person managing the trust fund is known as the “trustee,” and they can put assets such as real estate, stocks, cash, and bonds into this type of trust fund.

There are three types of Special Needs Trusts that a family can choose from a third party special needs trust is typically administered by the beneficiary’s parents. In many situations, the special needs trust is put into the trustee’s will. Any person can put money into this trust except for the person with special needs themselves. It is important that if any family members want to financially assist the person, they do it in the form of the trust to ensure that the person doesn’t lose any SSI benefits, Medi-Cal Benefits, or benefits through certain housing assistance programs.

California also offers first party special needs trusts and pooled special needs trusts. In first party trusts, the person with special needs actually owns the money but only their legal guardian or the court can set up the trust. Pooled special needs trusts can put a large investment fund together through the assets from a variety of family members and other organizations. This trust has to be set up through a non-profit organization but you, your guardian, and other family members can put money into the trust.

It is important to know that any money in Special Needs Trusts can’t be used for basic needs such as housing and food. If you need financial assistance from your family for housing, food, or other basic necessities, you may want to start an ABLE Account that allows a disabled person to collect up to $14,000 each year from either a job they hold or from family members that can be used for basic needs like housing and food, transportation, or health care.

The different options for special needs trusts in California may seem overwhelming. Therefore, it may be in your best interest to consult with an experienced wills, trusts, and estates attorney who can provide you with assistance in this matter and guide you towards financial security in the future.

If you need the dedicated legal representation for wills, trusts, and estate matters in California, contact the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman to schedule a consultation. 

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