Special Needs Planning

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Saving for Your Special Needs Child with a Trust

What are the benefits of using a trust to save funds for my special needs child?

For the parents of special needs children, worries for the future abound. Having a child with special needs presents many challenges, not the least of which are financial. The current American healthcare system leaves many families with special needs loved ones struggling to provide for their medical care needs. Currently, about 7.2 million children under the age of 18 have severe disabilities, according to the Census Bureau.
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Becomes Law

On December 7, 2016, the Senate approved the 21st Century Cures Act, which includes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, allowing competent individuals with disabilities to create their own special needs trusts.

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Special Needs Trusts Are A Critical Part of Many Estate Plans

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disability and Health Data System, 20.9% of all the adults living in California have a disability. That means the loved ones of 20.9% of all Californians need to be especially thoughtful when crafting their estate plans.

Unfortunately, leaving as little as $2,001 to a disabled beneficiary can prevent them from receiving government benefits like SSI (Supplemental Social Security Income) and Medi-Cal, benefits which are often essential to their well-being.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Planning for the Needs of Disabled Children

If your child has a disability, you are not alone. The 2010 census estimates that about one in twelve American children has a disability. Medical care and long term treatment can be terrifically expensive. One way to ensure that those needs will be met while protecting your assets is through a special or supplemental needs trust. Through that trust, your child may qualify for various government programs while also benefiting from assets you set aside.
Special or supplemental needs trust planning is necessary to make sure that your child can enjoy the benefit of the trust without negatively impacting his or her eligibility for government benefits under Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal and many other programs. 

For this to work the benefits received by your child through the special needs trust cannot duplicate government program benefits.  Also, the trust assets cannot be owned by your child and the trustee must have complete discretion under the terms of the trust to make distributions or investments.

Instead of leaving assets directly to the disabled adult child through a will, you could create a special needs trust in your living trust or will. Your assets are protected in that the trust allows government benefits to continue to pay for your child’s necessities, freeing up your assets to be spent on making your child’s life more comfortable. The trust would own various assets that are used by the child such as a car or home. Because the trust owns them, not the child, they are not counted as being owned by the child when an agency determines if the child qualifies for benefits.  The trust could pay for such things as telephone bills, education or car repairs without affecting the eligibility for government programs. The trustee would not be able to make cash payments to your child because they would be considered income, resulting in reduced or lost benefits. The trustee would be independent and the trust would continue for the lifetime of the child.

If you live in Orange County, California or the surrounding areas and have questions regarding protecting your assets while doing special needs planning, contact the lawyers at OC Wills & Trust Attorneys by calling (949)288-3598 for a consultation.

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