Special Needs Trust

Diligent Legal Representation for Estate Planning Matters in Brevard County

A special needs trust is a written agreement under federal law that excludes specific assets and income from being used to prevent a disabled person from being eligible for need-based government benefits. For example, if a severely disabled schizophrenic person suddenly receives an inheritance, that person can lose Medicaid health insurance. This means that the entire inheritance will have to go towards paying for healthcare until he or she can again obtain Medicaid when the funds are gone. This type of outcome can be avoided by creating a special needs trust. From our offices in Brevard County, the estate planning attorneys of Cantwell & Goldman can help you safeguard the interests of you or your disabled loved one.

Protecting the Financial Future of Disabled Individuals

A disabled person is a good candidate for a special needs trust in a variety of circumstances. As mentioned above, inheritance is one major reason for somebody to want this type of document. Other situations in which it may be appropriate include receiving a personal injury settlement, getting awarded assets in a divorce, or receiving a substantial financial gift. A trust can give the disabled person a comfortable lifestyle and ensure that he or she can continue to get government benefits. A knowledgeable attorney can work with you to set up and administer this kind of trust in order to avoid jeopardizing the disabled person's eligibility for public assistance. A special needs trust permits a disabled individual to use the trust's money as well as Medicaid and other need-based government benefits. Certain trusts can be paid back when the beneficiary dies.

There are many kinds of special needs trusts, including pooled special needs trusts (also called (d)(4)(c) trusts), qualified income trusts, third party special needs trusts, master third party pooled trusts, sole benefit trusts, and settlement preservation trusts. Pooled special needs trusts are master trusts with multiple subaccounts. The pooled trusts are administered by a not-for-profit trustee, and any remaining monies are available to fulfill the not-for-profit's goals of assisting disabled people. A sole benefit or individual special needs trust is one created solely to benefit an individual. A first-party individual special needs trust is irrevocable and permits deposits from the disabled person's own funds. The government is repaid any money that remains in the trust after the disabled person dies.

The special needs trust document provides that a trustee will hold assets such as money or real property for the benefit of a disabled individual. The trust will provide the disabled person with resources to pay for supplemental or special needs, such as companion services, entertainment or electronics, comfort, and nonessential medical care, while ensuring that he or she can receive the government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) on which he or she relies.

Consult a Cocoa Attorney to Discuss Your Will and Trust Issues

If you or a loved one is a disabled adult without a special needs trust for protection, you are at risk. A disabled person can lose government assistance and will have to rely on assets to maintain his or her lifestyle until they are gone, at which point he or she will have to reapply for benefits. A disabled person also risks mismanagement of assets if family members are handling funds. If you live in Cocoa or the surrounding areas and need to create a special needs trust, the experienced lawyers of Cantwell & Goldman can help. Contact us at 866-583-9129 or via our online form.