USING SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS TO PROTECT THE NEEDS OF FAMILY MEMBERS WITH DISABILITIES
If you have a child or other relative living with a disability, setting up a Special Needs Trust (SNT)is the solution to provide for her or his care after you have died or become incapacitated. . Trusts are the most important tool for those who may be unable to care for their personal needs or manage their financial affairs and may not be able to live independently.
The major benefit of Special Needs Trusts is that it ensures that an individual with a disability remains eligible for government benefits. When a person with a disability applies for government assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, which are “means tested” programs, assets owned by that person can result in ineligibility, but assets placed in a special needs trust will not be considered owned by the person who is disabled, thus preserving benefit eligibility. This is because the SNT, rather than the beneficiary, owns the assets. Note that Social Security Disability benefits(SSD) are not “means tested” so there is no asset test and the individual can receive SSD benefits as long as she or he meets SSD eligibility tests The attorneys at Pierro, Connor, & Strauss LLC are highly experienced in designing Special Needs Trusts.