For many families with a special needs child, a special needs trust is one of the most important components of the family’s overall estate plan. A properly designed and implemented special needs trust can provide a number of important benefits.
Maximize quality of life while protecting eligibility for government assistance.
A special needs trust allows you to provide funds that can help improve the quality of life for your special needs loved one without jeopardizing eligibility for necessary government assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Funds in the trust can be used for all of the following and more:
- Medical procedures or therapies not available through government assistance
- Supplemental nursing home care and private companion services
- Travel expenses
- Entertainment expenses such as movies, concerts or electronic equipment
- Fees for guardians and attorneys
- Other expenses, services or products not provided by a government assistance program
Lower costs for healthcare services.
Medical providers who have contracts with the state to provide Medicaid services generally deliver those services for much less than beneficiaries paying privately. In situations where the special needs trust must reimburse the state for services provided over the beneficiary’s lifetime (the payback provision), reimbursement will be for this lower cost and avoid any penalties or interest.
Avoid the stress, expense and frustration of guardianship.
A properly designed special needs trust can avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding over property issues because trusts are recognized as a less restrictive means to guardianship. This in turn can protect the beneficiary from having to pay for the ongoing costs and formalities of maintaining a guardianship.
For more information about special needs trusts and how we can help you choose the one that is right for your special needs loved one, contact us for a personal consultation.