Ensuring that a disabled child or loved one is provided for after you are gone is imperative. Unfortunately, having cash or cash equivalents available can disqualify a person with disabilities from certain governmental benefits, including Medical Assistance and Medicaid, so strictly saving cash for your disabled loved one’s future needs may not be the best way to ensure that they are provided for after you are gone. Fortunately, there is a way to provide for a disabled person’s well-being without disqualifying him or her from governmental benefits. Establishing a Special Needs Trust is exactly one way to accomplish this goal.
A Special Needs Trust allows money, and other assets, to be held in trust and expended for the benefit of a disabled person, without the assets being considered as resources of the disabled individual. This is especially relevant for the purposes of applying for governmental benefits, which are often restricted based upon available resources and income. One minor catch is that the trust may be liable for reimbursement of any benefits disbursed to the disabled person during his or her lifetime. Reimbursement for the governmental benefits that were provided, however, is typically never sought until after the disabled person has died. With that caveat, a Special Needs Trust is one great mechanism that is available to ensure that your disabled loved one(s) will be able to sustainably live comfortably while also being able to take advantage of the useful income and resource restricted governmental benefits that are offered to individuals with disabilities.
Georgios K. Patsalosavvis is the newest member of the Estates Department at Grim, Biehn & Thatcher. Contact Attorney Patsalosavvis today for help with all of your estate planning needs.