A trust is a very flexible estate planning tool. The great thing about creating a trust is that it can adapt to the particular needs of your unique situation.
If your estate planning includes providing for a physically or mentally disabled child or adult, or someone with an addiction, you may want to learn a little about special needs trusts (also referred to as supplemental needs trusts).
What is a Special Needs Trust?
Simply put, a special needs trust is a trust that has provisions in it designed to address and protect the needs of a beneficiary who may be mentally or physically challenged or who is beset by other problems, such as debt or addiction.
What Can a Special Needs Trust Do?
One of the advantages of creating a special needs trust, especially for a disabled person receiving government benefits —for example, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)— is the fact that it can provide for a number of comforts that contribute to someone’s well-being and happiness.
Because government benefits pay for rock bottom minimum living expenses, (i.e., food and medicine), a special needs trust can furnish items that a beneficiary may need to live a quality life. This can be things like comfortable living arrangements, education, therapy, transportation, etc. The trust can pay for those living expenses or items that government benefits don’t pay for.
BUT BEWARE: in the case of someone receiving government benefits, the special needs trust must be carefully set up and administered so as not to cause the loss of those benefits. Please consult with an experienced estate and probate lawyer to learn more.
Typically, the language governing the special needs trust allows the trustee to distribute income and principal from the trust to pay for the beneficiary’s living expenses. It can even allow the trustee to provide the beneficiary with an allowance or to pay for luxury items, such as vacations. What the trust can or cannot do on behalf of the beneficiary depends entirely on the wording of the trust. This is what makes trusts such versatile estate planning tools.
Special needs trusts are great estate planning tools. When properly set up and administered, they can provide peace of mind to parents or other individuals who want to ensure that their loved one with special needs will be properly taken care of in the future.
Protecting Your Family is Just a Phone Call Away.
Don’t leave planning for your future and that of your loved ones to chance. All it takes is one phone call to the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald to ensure that your wishes will be followed, and your loved ones taken care of when you are gone. We expertly guide individuals through the complex probate process, and capably handle all aspects of the creation, administration, and settlement of trusts as well. When you work with the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Samantha J. Fitzgerald, you get more than just an estate plan: you get peace of mind. Call us at 954-580-3690 or email us at: [email protected] today.