Special Needs

Saturday, October 13, 2018

What Types Of Things Can Special Needs Trusts Be Used To Pay For?

A special needs trust allows you to preserve a family member’s eligibility for government benefits and supplement those benefits. A First Person Special Needs Trust is used to hold title to property that is owned by someone with special needs. A Third Party Special Needs Trust is funded by other assets, such as an inheritance or court settlement.

If a special needs trust is not drafted and funded very carefully, the person may not be eligible for Medicaid and other government benefits. A California special needs planning lawyer assists individuals in drafting special needs trusts so that the trusts do not interfere with government benefits.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Five Things You Didn't Know About Special Needs Planning That Can Hurt You

Special needs planning involves making sure your family member’s daily needs are met, and he or she is safe even if you are unable to continue to provide care and support. Unfortunately, it is easy to make mistakes that can impact the quality of life and independence level of the person with special needs. If your loved one needs assistance managing the tasks of daily life, it is important that you consult with our California Special Needs Planning Lawyer to discuss options for future care for your loved one.

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Friday, February 17, 2017

What Types Of Special Need Trusts Are Available To Me?

Special needs trusts provide a way for you to safely transfer funds to a loved one without threatening his or her ability to receive government benefits such as Social Security and Medicaid. These types of trusts can be set up so that it operates while you are alive or begins once you have passed. There are a lot of factors to consider during the special needs planning process, so it helps to have an experienced special needs planning lawyer at your side to avoid problems.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2016 Facts and Figures Concerning Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, while more than 5 million Americans currently battle the disease on a daily basis. Recently, the Association published the most updated statistics surrounding this form of dementia, and the numbers reveal a startling and consistent increase in the prevalence of this devastating illness.

To date, as many as one out of every three senior citizens dies while under the auspices of Alzheimer’s or a similar dementia condition. As well, an American is diagnosed with the condition an average of every 66 seconds. Of this group, a growing number of Americans -- approximately four percent suffer from early-onset dementia, or dementia occurring before age 65.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Changes To The Eligibility Requirements For First Party Special Needs Trusts

What terms must be found in a Special Needs Trust in order for the beneficiary to be entitled to government benefits?

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a legal instrument used for the benefit of individuals who cannot support themselves due to a disability. Assets are held in the trust and not by the beneficiary making the disabled person eligible for various types of needs based government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal. Currently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) is reviewing these trusts with stricter scrutiny. The agency will now require SNTs to contain certain terms in order to qualify for needs-based benefits.

These changes have been made with regard to first party SNT’s. A first party SNT is one that is set up by a relative or pursuant to a court order, but are funded by assets that belonged to the beneficiary him or herself. According to federal law, assets that remain at the termination of a first party SNT must be used to pay back the government for any benefits that were provided, particularly SSI and Medi-Cal.  Now, trust terms must actually provide that all states will be paid back with remaining trust assets, not just the State of California. 

Another change made by the SSA is that SNT trusts must actually be set up by a relative or pursuant to a court order, not by an agent of the disabled person, even one that is related.  Lastly, the SSA has also become stricter in enforcing the “sole-benefit rule” which means that trust assets can only be used for the benefit of the disabled party.  Previously funds could be used for the indirect benefit of the disabled person, such as to pay for a person to visit him or her, this is no longer an option.

Any trusts that have been previously approved by the SSA are safe unless they are subject to changes via an amendment. 

Deciding whether to use an SNT and then drafting one that is appropriate is a decision that is best made with the guidance of a skilled elder law and special needs planning attorney.  

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