Planning for your loved one with special needs requires extensive research to become a well-educated advocate. You will want to keep up-to-date on the latest medical, educational, financial, and legal changes. Goldsmith & Guymon, P.C. provides assistance to you and your family in addressing your unique concerns. We hope this Special Needs Resource Center provides you with a quick reference to find the additional resources you may need.
Annual Disability Statistics Compendium: This publication, the first Compendium, focuses on state-level statistics published by federal agencies.
There are several types of trusts to assist with these special planning challenges. The most common types are Support Trusts and Special Needs Trusts.
Support trusts are more general trusts (revocable living trusts) providing for a beneficiary’s basic needs, such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and educational services. Beneficiaries of support trusts are not eligible to receive financial assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. If your intended beneficiary is entitled to receive SSI or Medicaid, you should avoid a support trust.
A special or supplemental needs trust is the most effective way to help an intended beneficiary with a disability. A special needs trust manages resources while also maintaining the beneficiary’s eligibility for public assistance benefits.
As addressed above, there are two types of Special Needs Trusts: (1) Third-Party Special Needs Trust created using the assets of a third party, like a parent or spouse, as part of an estate plan and distributed by a will or living trust; and (2) Self-Settled Special Needs Trust, generally created using the disabled beneficiary’s assets to fund the trust (e.g., when the disabled person receives a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and will require lifelong care). If assets remain in the Trust after the self-settled special needs trust beneficiary’s death, a payback to the state is required, but only to the extent public assistance benefits were received.
Special needs trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have loved ones with disabilities for whom you wish to provide after your passing. Generally, special needs trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets (like life insurance) or they can be sub-trusts in existing living trusts.