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Families with special needs children, whether they are young or old, face many challenges. Government programs can provide assistance with funds, assistants, group homes in some cases, supported housing and sometimes sheltered workshops. Two government programs that provide assistance are Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and Medicaid. Both of these programs require the individual to have limited assets to qualify. Planning for children with special needs requires understanding what assets the special needs child can own and how assets can be held for their benefit. Special Needs Trusts (“SNTs”) provide a way for parents to provide for their children and preserve SSI and Medicaid benefits.

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- Tony Stark

Attorneys at Sage Law, LLP are familiar with creating SNTs and how they preserve government benefits. These trusts can be created to receive inheritances from others or can become effective only after parents have passed.  SNTs can pay for benefits that government programs cannot. Some of these benefits include paying for a private room at a skilled nursing facility, paying for therapies not approved by Medicaid, paying for a vacation with a family member, paying for non-approved medical equipment and paying funeral and burial costs. A SNT can be structured so upon the death of a special needs child a named successor beneficiary could receive the remaining proceeds.  If a SNT child receives an inheritance he or she may no long qualify for benefits, unless a SNT trust is created to receive the inheritance. However that trust will have to pay back Medicaid with any funds remaining at the child’s death.

Creating a SNT requires making many decisions. The attorneys at Sage Law, LLP can help parents and others work through the decisions and related documents. Some of the decisions include who should be trustee and successor trustee, should a trust protector be provided and who should be the advocate for the child if parents are no longer available. A related document that should be created is instructions to others on care and needs of the special needs child. We can also discuss the related topics of pooled trusts and ABLE accounts to determine if they are appropriate for your child’s situation. Please let us know if we can help.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS ATTORNEYS