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Planning for Special Needs Individuals

Do you want to provide for someone receiving public benefits?

Special planning needs to be done if you have a loved one with special needs (those with either physical, mental, or emotional disability). Two of the most common disasters can occur when you leave an inheritance to either:

  1. A disabled child receiving public benefits, or
  2. A disabled adult in a skilled nursing facility receiving public benefits

If you provide for a loved one that fits into one of the above categories in your Will or Trust, you can cause them to lose their government benefits, unless proper planning is implemented.

Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts are instruments designed to preserve Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other public benefits for your loved ones.

You need to be aware of you options in providing for a special needs loved one:

  • You can give the assets to someone for the care of your special needs loved one. The problem is that now it will be subject to their creditors and can cause additional gift/estate taxes. Even worse, they have no legal obligation to spend it on your loved one.

  • You can set up a Special Needs Trust "SNT". With this special trust, you can set aside assets to take care of your loved on without causing them to lose the public benefits they are receiving. A properly drafted Special Needs Trust will not interfere with your loved one's ability to qualify for SSI, Medicaid, or other public benefits because the trust will not count as their individual asset.  It will also make sure that the assets you leave them are properly managed are used the way you want for their benefit.


Planning to Minimize Estate Tax Liability at Death
Planning for Disability
Planning to Avoid Probate
Planning for Minor Children

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