When someone who is physically or mentally disabled comes into money through an inheritance, a gift, or a lawsuit settlement, this money can be both a blessing and a burden. The money can provide a better quality of life for the disabled individual. However, a person with special needs may not always be able to manage large sums of money or property. Further, acquiring significant assets can also disqualify a disabled person from access to important government benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
With special needs planning, the burdens of an inheritance or financial windfall are removed and it is possible to provide substantial benefits for the disabled individual. Special needs planning must be done correctly, and it should be done with the help of a qualified legal professional. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates P.C. offers comprehensive assistance to those who want to leave money to a disabled loved one or who want to help a disabled friend or relative who is about to receive a gift or settlement. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation, to get advice custom-tailored to your situation, and to get answers to important questions including:
- Why is special needs planning important?
- What is involved in special needs planning?
- How can a Connecticut special needs planning lawyer help you?
Why is Special Needs Planning Important?
The single most important reason for special needs planning is to make sure a gift of property or money never results in a disabled person losing benefits. A person with special needs may require extremely costly medical care. Medicaid can pay for this care, but Medicaid is a need-based program. Having too much money or property disqualifies a person from receiving coverage. Even a large inheritance, gift, or settlement could be spent quickly if a disabled person loses access to insurance coverage and has to begin paying out-of-pocket.
There are also other benefits, like SSI, which are means-tested and which a disabled person might be receiving. You don’t want an inheritance or a gift you provide to cause a net loss, so you need to make sure you structure the gift appropriately. With special needs planning, the money can be set aside for the use of the disabled person and can be used for purposes that you specify, while eligibility for benefits are maintained.
Another reason for special needs planning is to make sure money and property are managed properly. Someone who is physically or mentally disabled may be overwhelmed or unable to handle investments and other aspects of caring for assets and growing a nest egg. With special needs planning, you can name a trustee who has a fiduciary duty to manage the money and use it for the benefit of the disabled person. A fiduciary duty is the highest duty under the law, so the trustee will be legally bound to ensure that the disabled person benefits from the inheritance or gift you have provided.
What is Involved in Special Needs Planning?
Special needs planning involves the creation of a special needs trust. There are very specific rules for the type of trust which must be created and it is essential that you follow these rules. If you are giving a gift or planning to leave an inheritance for a disabled individual, you will need to ensure you properly create a third party special needs trust. If the disabled person has received a settlement from a lawsuit (as is common after a serious injury causes disability), then you will need to properly create a first party special needs trust.
Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates P.C. understands all of the legal rules and regulations for creation of a special needs trust. Our Connecticut special needs planning lawyers will take care of the technical aspects of trust creation for you. We can help you to follow the formalities for trust creation and to ensure that assets are correctly transferred into the trust. We’ll also assist you in naming a trustee who can be counted on to manage the assets and in ensuring that you leave appropriate instructions for how the money should be used for the benefit of your disabled loved one.
How Can a Connecticut Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help You?
As a parent, relative or friend of a person with special needs, you likely want to ensure your loved one is properly cared for and protected when you can no longer be there. A special needs trust allows you to take full advantage of a powerful legal tool to care for someone who is disabled. Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates P.C. can help you to make a comprehensive plan that will ensure your friend or relative has the best quality of life you can provide in the future. Give us a call at (860) 548-1000 to learn more.