Special Needs Planning
You worked hard to provide a nice life for you and your family. You bought a house, saved for retirement, and have some money in the bank. As long as you are alive and well, you spend that money wisely on the things that matter most to you. However, when you are gone, that money will pass to its intended beneficiaries with the hope that they will use it wisely. For most families, that will be the case and if not then it is the beneficiary's own fault. However, for those families with a special needs child they need to be very careful. They need to ensure that the value of their assets are maximized over time.
In the eyes of the law, a child is your beneficiary by birth. If they are a minor at the time of your death, then the inheritance goes into a custodial account. If they are an adult, then it goes to them outright. Even for families with wealth, that could be a problem if a beneficiary has special needs. The reason is that the child may need to "spend down" their inheritance before they can receive government benefits. The solution is to create a special needs or supplemental needs trust. Instead of the money going outright to the child, it is instead placed in a specific type of trust which does not jeopardize the child's eligibility for such aid as Social Security (SSI) or medicaid.
These special needs trusts can be included as a sub-trust in the parent's or grandparent's trust or can be a stand-alone trust. At AvoidProbate, we try and make these trusts as easy and affordable as possible by offering them at a low flat-fee. We also work hard to educate the client on when they are appropriate and how they should be administered. If you have a special needs beneficiary, please make sure to mention this to the attorney when you speak.