Disability Planning, Special Needs Trust

 Disability Planning and Special Needs Trust

If a family has a family member who is incapacitated or has a serious disability a, it needs a good disability plan. If Medicaid is needed, then a Special Needs Trust is advisable. A good estate plan should include special disability planning.

Power of Attorneys and Revocable Trusts are good as legal devices to plan for disability. Those devices are described elsewhere.

Governmental programs that may help the family member with nursing home care, through Medicaid benefits, however it has income and asset limitations. Determining how your property can be left to, or help,  your disabled family member, and also maintain governmental eligibility, requires proper planning and documentation. Providing a Trust for some of your assets to be left , managed and used ,after your death, so the property has a tremendous impact on the quality of life for that person and also maintain eligibility for government benefits takes careful planning. .

Special Needs Trust

A Special Needs Trust allows a parent, grandparent or guardian to provide property or income to help a child with a disability without interfering with the child's eligibility for government benefits. Setting one up proper special needs trust or providing a is a fairly simple process. Important points to remember while investigating the use of this estate planning tool are:

  • Decide on an appropriate, willing, guardian for your child
  • Determine who would be a suitable Trustee to manage the Trust assets and supervise your child's finances
  • Provide instructions for your child's education, housing, personal and emotional needs

Special Needs Trust can help with many life sustaining financial assistance expenses for personal quality of life needs, such as:

  • travel to and attendance at religious service
  • education and tutoring costs
  • out of pocket medical expenses, dental and vision expenses.
  • trips, travel  and vacations
  • entertainment and recreation
  • meals and dietary needs
  • personal attendant
  • hair care and cuts and grooming
  • magazines, newspaers
  • computer, TV, music, cell phone costs

We can help you and your family deal with the financial, legal and social needs of your desire to help your disabled child, when you can no longer do so.


The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act.

This law was enacted at the end of 2016, and removes a barrier in creating self-settled special needs trusts for disabled individuals. 

The 2016  law allows a disabled individual, who is competent to do so, to establish his or her own self-funded special needs trust. The 2016 law eliminates the previously presumed or implicit presumption of the old law that all disabled individuals was not mentally competent to establish his or her  own trust.
The 2016 law, makes it easier to establish a special needs trusts. It will help people who are disabled and are less than 65 years of age, to establish a special needs trust , if there is an inheritance or gift or by settlement of an amount of money or property to set up their own special  needs trust. It should be more cost-effective to establish a self-settled special needs trust because they or the  guardian will no longer need to pay a lawyer to petition the court for authorization to establish the trust. 

A special needs trust is an asset protection tool that is used to allow a person with physical or mental disabilities to receive  the benefit of trust property held by the trustee of a SNT and still be eligible for governmental Medicaid benefits or   Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

A self-settled special needs trust is a trust funded by the disabled individual's own assets. These types of special needs trusts (also sometimes known as d(4)(A) trusts) must contain a “pay-back provision” to reimburse Medicaid and other government programs for all benefits paid to or for the disabled individual. The assets remaining in the special needs trust upon the beneficiary's death are owed back to the State of residence of the beneficiary.

The changes brought about by the 2016  make the process a little easier to establish a self-settled special needs trust and reduce the costs a little.  

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