Special Needs Planning
For parents with children or family members who lack the capacity to care for their own affairs, estate planning carries an extra sense of obligation. You want to ensure that the individual is well-cared for after your passing, but you know they need special assistance to handle their affairs and you do not want to jeopardize their eligibility to receive governmental benefits.
A Special Needs Trust Will Protect Their Interests
Because a special needs trust is a trust, it is administered by a trustee who has a fiduciary duty to the beneficiary. Another advantage of this trust is that it can be specifically tailored to meet the circumstance of the beneficiary of the trust. Morris Estate Planning Attorneys is experienced with all aspects of creating trusts, and will help you establish a trust that will provide supplemental benefits for your child or other family members for the length of their life.
A mistake some make is to provide for a loved one in a will by a large lump sum payment. The disadvantage of this is that the beneficiary may lose his or her government benefits, like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which is a means-tested benefit. They may also try to disinherit a child and rely on a sibling to provide for their needs, but then the sibling misuses the funds.
By use of a special needs trust, which is drafted by our lawyers, your gift can provide for the beneficiary without raising their income and assets above the eligibility requirements or placing their share of your estate at risk for mishandling.
Additionally, the use of a trustee ensures that they truly benefit from the proceeds of the trust and that they are not inadvertently squandered, or that they are exploited by unscrupulous individuals. The creation of a special needs trust can ensure that your child or other loved one has the assurance of your care and protection long after you are no longer able to provide that care directly.