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of your special needs child or loved one
If you're providing love, affection, and care for a special needs child or adult, your heart and hands are already full. With a Special Needs Trust, your loved one continues receiving government benefits and enjoys an enhanced life–with the trust funds paying for the extras including--
Schedule a free 30 minute phone appointment with Travis Weaver, attorney, at 817-638-2022 for answers to your questions about setting up a special needs trust. And, check out our FAQ section below for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a Special Needs Trust essential? If you leave money or property directly to your special needs child or loved one, either in a will or through intestacy (dying without a will), the inheritance your child receives will endanger his or her ability to receive benefits under government programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.
What is a Special Needs Trust? A Special Needs Trust, also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust, is created to hold cash or property for your special needs child or loved one Funds from the trust can be used to help your special needs child or loved one–yet still allow the person to receive government benefits like Medicaid or SSI. As described earlier, if the child or loved one owns these assets outright, he or she may not qualify for government benefits.
Funds from the Special Needs Trust may also be used to pay yourself and other family members for caregiving duties. This helps make up for a parent’s or caregiver's lost income. Since many special needs children and adults require around-the-clock care, making it impossible for a caregiver to hold a job, this benefit may help relieve financial stress and ensure your child receives the best possible care–from you.
What does my special needs child or loved one gain with a Special Needs Trust? A properly drafted and executed Special Needs Trust shelters assets for a special needs child or other disabled person, while allowing the child to benefit from government programs offering support to disabled individuals. Your special needs child or loved one may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD), Medicare and Medicaid.
Consider this brief summary about qualifying for these programs: SSI is a needs-based program available if certain income and resource limitations are met. In most states including Texas, people receiving SSI are automatically entitled to Medicaid. To qualify for SSI and Medicaid, a single person must own less than $2,000 of countable assets. Those with countable assets greater than $2,000 can lose their eligibility for benefits.
Won’t any trust work? Unfortunately, no. Here’s why — support trusts (most common trusts are support trusts), which direct that funds be used for the health, welfare, and support of a beneficiary like a special needs child or adult, will usually disqualify the child or adult from receiving government benefits. This is because the assets in a support trust are counted as the child’s or loved one's resources.
A Special Needs Trust allows a parent or caregiver(the trustee) to use trust funds to add to, not replace, the government benefits for which your special needs child or loved one qualifies.
Here’s how it works: To maintain eligibility for needs-based support, your special needs child or loved one (the beneficiary) cannot have control over the assets in the Special Needs Trust. Your special needs child or loved one cannot manage the assets, have the right to demand distributions of income or property from the trust, name the Trustee or change the terms of the Special Needs Trust. The use of the Special Needs Trust’s assets for the benefit of a special needs child or adult is determined by the parent or caregiver (Trustee).
Because your special needs child or adult (the beneficiary) does not have a claim to the assets in the trust, this means the trust assets are not countable resources and do not affect the special needs individual's eligibility for benefits.
As a result, the special needs child or adult continues receiving government benefits, while still enjoying the benefits of the funds or property in the trust–for things like travel, entertainment, and other supplemental needs that may greatly enhance your child’s or loved one's quality of life.
Who can serve as a trustee of a Special Needs Trust? The Trustee can be a parent, family member, friend, or private professional trustee. In the case of a self-settled special needs trust, the person making the gift to create the trust can also serve as trustee. A self-settled special needs trust requires a payback provision for any governmental benefits received. All other special needs trusts do not require such payback provisions.
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Rhome, TX 76078 | 817-638-9016
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Rick Weaver and Travis Weaver of Weaver Firm - Attorneys present the information on this website as a service. While the information on this site is about legal issues, it is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. This information does not form an attorney-client relationship. The information is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No reader should act or refrain from acting on any information included in, or accessible through, this website without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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