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Special Needs Planning

ESTATE PLANNING FOR LOVED ONES WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

How do we ensure our loved ones with special needs are taken care of after we’re gone, while maintaining their government benefits? A properly drafted special needs trust will allow you to leave assets to your special needs loved one while maintaining their government benefits.

Special needs trusts allow a disabled beneficiary to receive gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds while remaining eligibility for certain government programs. Such trusts are drafted so that the funds will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining eligibility for public benefits.

As the name implies, Special Needs Trusts are designed not to provide basic support, but instead to pay for comforts and luxuries that could not be paid for by public assistance. These trusts typically pay for things like education, recreation, counseling, and medical attention beyond the simple necessities of life. Special needs can include medical and dental expenses, annual independent check-ups, necessary or desirable equipment (such as specially equipped vans), training and education, insurance, transportation, and essential dietary needs. If the trust is sufficiently funded, the disabled person can also receive electronic equipment and appliances, computers, vacations, movies, payments for a companion, and other self-esteem and quality-of-life enhancing expenses.

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