Providing for the future of special needs individuals

| Aug 14, 2020 | Probate & Estate Administration

Florida residents who care for a special needs individual know that it is not always the easiest thing to do. A variety of factors require consideration to guarantee that the individual receives the best care available to them.

Special needs trusts, or SNT, are often used to provide for the care of special needs individuals. A first-party SNT is used to preserve benefits like Medicaid and SSI received by the special needs individual. Assets included in an SNT and all profits derived from those assets are allowable to supplement the cost of care of the special needs individual. These trusts are available to disabled people who have not yet reached 65 years of age. Additionally, the assets used to establish the trust must belong to the individual.

A third-party SNT also allows beneficiaries to receive governmental benefits. These trusts are funded with the assets of a third party and are used to provide additional income to the special needs individual. Income received by the beneficiary could impact SSI eligibility and payments in some cases.

SNTs are the most common tools for people responsible for the care of special needs individuals. However, other options are available. One option is to deliver assets directly to the special needs individual. This option may not be the right decision if the individual does not possess the capacity to manage the assets or would be hurt by a potential loss of governmental or private assistance. Assets could also be transferred to the hands of a third party who would then become responsible for allocating the assets as needed. This alternative is great if the third party acts with integrity but could prove disastrous if he or she does not perform the duties as expected.

Parents and grandparents often want to continue to care for their loved ones after they are no longer able to be with them physically. This responsibility becomes more urgent when the loved one is disabled or possesses a special need. Individuals concerned with special needs trusts and other ways to provide for loved ones may benefit from consulting with an attorney who is familiar with these matters.