Does someone you love have special needs? For these loved ones, good estate planning is essential. But estate planning for your child or grandchild with special needs is different than with other children.
What You Need to Know
What are “special needs?” According to USLegal.com, children with special needs have some form of disability or circumstances requiring extra measures to attend to. This means they may need additional services and assistance to live a better life.
Estate planning is key for a special needs child, particularly when he or she is old enough to receive needs-based public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Many of these government and non-government programs are designed to provide support to special needs children based on their financial need (i.e. he or she does not have other income and assets which could provide their care).
But, beneficiaries of programs like SSI and Medicaid can lose their benefits when they come into an inheritance, receive money in their own names from a settlement, or accumulate too much money in a bank account.”
Therefore, the goal for special needs estate planning is two-fold:
- Maximize the parents’ estates to better the life of their special needs child, and
- Continue the child’s enrollment in those essential public benefits.
These goals can be met with a special needs trust.
Why Use a Special Needs Trust?
In Ohio, a person may give their assets to a special needs trust (SNT) and still qualify for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home or in-home care without the gift counting as as an “improper transfer.” That’s a huge benefit!
The trustee you choose will be in charge of spending the trust assets to enhance the life of your loved one. Things like medical and dental expenses, home goods, education, recreation, vehicles, and physical therapy can all be available to your loved one through the SNT.
If finding a trustee is difficult or the cost to set up the SNT is too high, perhaps a Community Pooled Trust will be the answer for you. This type of trust is established by a non-profit organization, and individual beneficiaries can create accounts within the larger trust.
Thus, the assets of many people with special needs are “pooled” together. A social worker or trust advisor can distribute funds properly to keep the person eligible for public benefits and meet their other lifestyle needs as well.
Don’t get overwhelmed when planning for the future for your loved one with special needs. Talk to Dustin Hughes today to map out a plan that will give you peace and security for you and those around you.