Special Needs Planning

Gary L. White, Esq. 

While there are many ways to provide for the needs of healthy heirs and beneficiaries, planning for a loved one with special needs requires great care and attention. Leaving money or property directly to a disabled person in your will or making her a beneficiary of a standard living trust can put critical benefits at risk.

If a loved one is dependent or is likely to become dependent on Medicaid or other public benefits, there is a better option. Federal law provides for the creation of a special needs trust, also called a supplemental needs trust. When properly created and managed, a special needs trust can provide benefits to your disabled loved one without jeopardizing benefits.

– Florida Special Needs Trusts 

Of course, anyone can create any type of trust to benefit a special needs person. However, to protect against the potential loss of benefits and access to medical care, the trust must fulfill specific requirements. Working with an estate lawyer experienced in the creation of special needs trusts is generally the best way to avoid missteps that may put your loved one at risk.

Some key considerations include:

  • The age and disability status of the beneficiary
  • The relationship between the grantor and the beneficiary
  • The ability of the beneficiary (and, in some cases, the grantor) to alter the terms of the trust or control trust assets
  • The purposes for which trusts assets may be distributed
  • The benefits of creating a special needs trust within a revocable living trust
Asian special child on wheelchair and his dad on the beach at sunset, Father helped him to get closer to nature, Life in the education age of disabled children, Happy disabled kid concept.

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Good planning is the key to a secure future, from providing for your loved ones after your death to ensuring that your wishes are carried out if you need medical care after becoming incapacitated. An estate planning attorney with experience in elder care issues can help you assess your current situation and potential future needs and create the structure that best protects your interests.

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