Our Firm works with individuals and families in the areas of Disability and Special Needs law where an adult or a minor child is disabled or has special needs which may require the need to apply for and receive government benefits. Even if government benefits are not needed for the individual's support, it is necessary to make sure that there is someone to assist with the personal care and financial management for the disabled person. We work to develop comprehensive solutions to address the current and long-term needs for your loved one to ensure their quality of life and care requirements will be met when you are no longer present.
Importance of Disability & Special Needs Planning
According to the US Census out of 72.3 million families, 2 out of every 7 families reported a member with a disability. 72% have not named a trustee and 53% have not identified a guardian for their disabled or special needs family member. According to a study done by the National Organization on Disability, 88% of parents who have children with special needs have not set up a trust to preserve eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Social Income.
If you have an adult or minor child dependent who is disabled or special needs, it is critical that you work with an attorney to develop and implement a special needs plan. Eligibility for government benefits, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Social Income (SSI) could be reduced or stopped altogether through the improper transfer of assets without a proper special needs plan.
About Special Needs Trusts
Special Needs Trust, or Supplemental Needs Trust, are either a Revocable or Irrevocable Trust. The primary purpose for the Special Needs Trust is to provide funds for a disabled or special needs beneficiary, while maintaining eligibility for Medicare, Medicaid and SSI Disability if they are necessary.
Requirements for a Trust to qualify as a Special Needs Trust:
The beneficiary must not have any right to the income or principal from the Trust without Trustee approval;
Trust is restricted from the distribution of funds if disbursal disqualifies beneficiary from eligibility from government assistance;
A Special Needs Trust is mainly used to improve or maintain the beneficiary’s quality of life and provide excluded “luxury” items that are not permitted or covered through the government assistance programs such as education, counseling, medical procedures, recreational activities, and travel.
Our disability and special needs legal services include:
Asset Protection Planning; inherited assets, estates, other trusts, life insurance policies and/or retirement accounts;
Asset Protection planning of assets acquired; through accident or injury, assets obtained via settlement, structured settlement or judgment;
Estate planning; trust planning, strategic planning for eligibility of benefits through government programs, Medicaid, SSI;
Probate and Probate litigation; guardianships, conservatorships, estate planning petitions and other proceedings.
Special Needs Trusts; planning, preparation, and execution
Trustee advisement; roles, responsibilities, duties, authorities and legal obligations.