Planning for Individuals with Special Needs

Special needs planning should not be taken lightly. As a caretaker it is important to understand the physical or mental disabilities of a special needs individual. Proper estate planning is crucial because an individual with special needs who receives government benefits (such as under Supplemental Security Income or under a Medicaid program) could be disqualified from receiving those benefits if you do not implement proper planning techniques such as a special needs trust.

As you know, benefits under the aforementioned government programs are limited. Luckily, the government has special carve-outs for “special needs” or “supplemental needs” trusts without resulting in disqualification for SSI and Medicaid, as long as certain requirements are met.

Our law firm has experience with special needs planning that would allow the special needs individual to maintain government benefits while supplementing those benefits with other resources that are more than those basic resources offered by those governmental programs. A special needs trust must be designed specifically to supplement, not replace those government benefits.

A special needs trust can add benefits to supplement those already being received from the government including:

Non-food groceries and sundries

Attendance of religious services

Educational needs and supplies

Medical services not covered by government benefits

Transportation (including purchase of a vehicle)

Prepaid funeral and burial arrangements

Tickets to cultural or sporting events

Membership in recreational clubs, cultural institutions

Apparel, including maintenance and repair of same

Pet, service animal and supplies, veterinary services

Academic or recreational courses or classes

Therapies not covered by benefits programs

Domestic and personal care services

A special needs plan will ensure peace-of-mind knowing that the individual you are protecting has necessary and supplemental benefits in order to maintain his/her current lifestyle or to enhance it. Let an experienced estate planning attorney help you provide for and protect your loved ones .