Any family with a child with Special Needs (SN) knows the future is full of uncertainties. Many people with SN depend on public benefits to pay for medicines, medical care, special housing, and a small stipend to pay for food and shelter. Public benefits provide for only the bare necessities, although the medical benefits may be substantial. Nonetheless it can be devastating for a person with SN to lose their benefits if they receive money from an inheritance, settlement or other source. There are special trusts that can enable a person with SN to receive money, and retain their benefits. These trusts are referred to as “Special Needs Trusts “. A family with a child with SN should establish s Special Needs Trust for the child, as part of their Estate Plan. If properly drafted this trust can enable the Trustee to purchase a home for the person with SN, or to pay for trips to visit family, or go on vacation every year. The family can give direction to the Trustee and give their child a quality of life not available through public benefits, without risking the loss of the other services available to the child with SN.
There are Special Needs Trusts specifically designed to receive a settlement in a Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice case, these Trusts are often more flexible than a structured settlement, and enable a person to qualify for public benefits, and use the money received for the things they need but could never purchase with the minimal sum of money received through public benefits. The money can be used for education, job training, specially equipped vehicles, and medical care. A person with SN can take advantage of “Special Needs Trusts” for small settlements as well as large. There are also some well-managed Pooled Special Needs Trusts available to the individual that eliminate the cost of court supervision. An attorney trained in the area of Special Needs Trusts and Pooled Special Needs Trusts can provide a person who will be receiving money with an analysis of what kind of Special Needs Trust would be best suited to their needs.
There are strict rules and regulations that specify the uses of money placed in a Special Needs Trust. The money is not available when ever the beneficiary wants money. The Special Needs Trust is a protective Trust that allows money that an individual with SN receives to be used for their benefit, while only going for purposes allowed by Federal and State Law.
A Special Needs Trust is a way of taking some of the burden from the rest of the family, and or giving the person with SN the independence and joy often denied them by the tyranny of needing certain benefits the government provides on condition you remain poor.