What is Special Needs Law?
Special Needs Law is the practice of law dedicated to helping persons with disabilities (or "special needs") and their families by navigating their government benefits and estate planning options.
Do I need a Special Needs Trust (SNT)?
You need one when a person with disabilities needs more money or has money but needs to obtain or retain needs based government benefits such as Medicaid and SSI. Even if such persons are not curretnly receiving benefits, a Special Needs Trust is necessary if there even may be a chance that they could receive benefits anytime in the future. The great benefit of such a trust is that all trust income and assets can be used for the benefit of the person with disabilities. SNTs are either self settled or created by third parties, depending upon the circumstances.
Who should be the trustee?
A combination of a family member and a professional is often the best choice for trustee. Just as the family member must be aware of the family's personal needs, the professional must be aware of those needs as well as be educated about complex government benefits, such as SSI and Medicaid. Our firm often serves as the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust.
Can I receive cash from the Special Needs Trust?
If a Special Needs Trust distributes cash to a beneficiary, it will reduce the SSI payment dollar for dollar. If the SSI payment is eliminated, Medicaid can be lost.