A special needs planning lawyer can provide you with assistance if you have a child with disabilities and you want to ensure you can provide financially for that child even after you are gone.
When your child is disabled, you may not be able to plan on leaving money directly to your son or daughter. Transferring assets directly to a child who is disabled could cause a loss of access to means-tested benefits like Medicaid because Medicaid imposes limits on the amount of resources you can have so you cannot qualify for this important medical coverage if you have too much wealth. Depending upon the nature of the child’s disability, the child may also be unable to effectively manage and spend the funds.
Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates can help you to structure the transfer of an inheritance to your special needs child to ensure that the financial gift does not cause a loss of benefits and to ensure that the money is managed in the most appropriate way to enhance your child’s quality of life. Give us a call to get personalized advice on making a special needs plan to provide an inheritance for a disabled child or read on for some advice on choosing a trusted person to manage an inheritance for your child with a disability.
Who Should Manage an Inheritance for a Special Needs Child?
When you provide an inheritance to a special needs child who cannot manage it on his own, or who could be at risk of losing access to means-tested benefits because of the inheritance, the best course of action is often to create a special needs trust. When you create a special needs trust, the trust becomes the owner of assets instead of the disabled child. No loss of access to means-tested benefits occurs and the assets in the trust can be used for almost any purpose, other than to provide cash or to provide cash equivalents to the child with the disability.
You will, however, need to name a trustee who can manage the assets that are in the special needs trust and that will be used to provide for the child with the disability. The trustee will have a fiduciary duty to the disabled child, which is the highest duty that one person can owe to another person. The trustee will be expected to follow your instructions in the trust document, to manage the trust assets responsibly, and to use the assets in accordance with your wishes to improve the quality of life for the chid who is disabled.
You will want to ensure that you select a reliable, trustworthy and competent person as the trustee because you do not want your trustee to breach his duty. While he could be sued and held accountable for a breach of a fiduciary duty, this is a complicated process that it is best to avoid. You want the trustee to understand how to effectively manage money and to be someone who you feel that you can count on absolutely to manage the trust assets and provide for the disabled person who you created the trust to help support.
The trustee should be responsible and competent enough to ensure that the assets in the trust are protected and do not lose their value. The trustee should also be willing and able to use trusts funds to provide for the disabled child. Because the child cannot just be given cash, this could mean the trustee will need to use the assets to pay for goods and services for the child. Make sure the trustee you select is willing able to do that effectively.
Getting Help from a Special Needs Planning Lawyer
Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates will work closely with you to determine if you need to make a special needs plan and to decide what type of plans you should put in place to provide for your son or daughter. We can help with the technical process of naming a trustee to manage assets in a special needs trust and can work with you to ensure that your trust document provides the necessary instructions to ensure the money is best used to enhance your child’s quality of life.
To find out more about how our firm can help you with the special needs planning process, join us for a free seminar. You can also give us a call at 860-548-1000 or contact us online to talk with an attorney about how our firm can provide personalized help specific to your situation.