Planning for Individuals with Special Needs
Special needs planning should not be taken lightly. As a caretaker it is important to understand the physical or mental disabilities of a special needs individual. Proper estate planning is crucial because an individual with special needs who receives government benefits (such as under Supplemental Security Income or under a Medicaid program) could be disqualified from receiving those benefits if you do not implement proper planning techniques such as a special needs trust.
As you know, benefits under the aforementioned government programs are limited. Luckily, the government has special carve-outs for “special needs” or “supplemental needs” trusts without resulting in disqualification for SSI and Medicaid, as long as certain requirements are met.
Our law firm has experience with special needs planning that would allow the special needs individual to maintain government benefits while supplementing those benefits with other resources that are more than those basic resources offered by those governmental programs. A special needs trust must be designed specifically to supplement, not replace those government benefits.
A special needs trust can add benefits to supplement those already being received from the government including:
Non-food groceries and sundries
Attendance of religious services
Educational needs and supplies
Medical services not covered by government benefits
Transportation (including purchase of a vehicle)
Prepaid funeral and burial arrangements
Tickets to cultural or sporting events
Membership in recreational clubs, cultural institutions
Apparel, including maintenance and repair of same
Pet, service animal and supplies, veterinary services
Academic or recreational courses or classes
Therapies not covered by benefits programs
Domestic and personal care services
A special needs plan will ensure peace-of-mind knowing that the individual you are protecting has necessary and supplemental benefits in order to maintain his/her current lifestyle or to enhance it. Let an experienced estate planning attorney help you provide for and protect your loved ones .