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What To Know About Special Need Trusts

Special Needs Trust Lawyer

At every stage in life having an estate plan is important. However, it becomes even more imperative when your loved one has special needs. By having the right plan in place, it means that you can rest easier knowing that you have done everything in your power to protect them after you are no longer here. A special needs trust is a great resource tool that allows you to better safeguard the health and wellness of a loved one who has a disability that they need support for, without risking their eligibility for government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

Attempting to plan for a future that is out of your control can be terribly overwhelming to think about, but that’s why there are legally-binding documents you can create now so that the stress of the future is reduced. Whether you decide to set up a special needs trust for a relative, or you have questions about what this kind of trust offers, the insight below will give you what you need to know. 

A special needs trust works similarly to other kinds of trusts, but you must establish it and fund it before it can have power. As a special needs trust lawyer from W.B. Moore Law explains, you can set up a special needs trust by creating the trust document itself, naming a person to manage the trust assets, appointing yourself as the grantor or trustee, naming a successor trustee if you become incapacitated or pass away, naming the special needs relative as beneficiary of the special needs trust, and signing and notarizing it so that it comes into effect. 

While in the process of funding a special needs trust, you will get a trust tax ID number from the International Revenue Service (IRS) so that you can add assets into the trust. Other components of your estate plan, such as wills, living trusts, and beneficiary designations can fund your trust, in addition to other assets, property, or bank accounts. There are three kinds of special needs trusts, including:

  1. First Party Special Needs Trust
  2. Third Party Special Needs Trust
  3. Pooled Special Needs Trust

Special needs trusts can help with travel, caregiving, services, concerts or experiences, education, pet care, therapy, clothing, computer, phone, furniture, and more. However, a special needs trust cannot be utilized with large cash gifts or anything that may cause ineligibility of benefits offered by the government. So it’s crucial that you are careful when it comes to food or shelter/housing, as it can cause a reduction for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. There are exemptions that can make it feasible, but it’s something you must be aware of.