The term "Special needs" applies today to a loved one with mental or physical disabilities. Family often worry about what happens when they are not around to take care of the family member with special needs.
An estate plan or will can be used to bequeath assets to a person with special needs, but a bequest could prevent the person from qualifying for government benefit programs.
Fortunately, the government has established rules and requirements that allow assets for a disabled individual to be held in trust without disqualification from Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Medicaid; they are called a Special Needs Trust or Supplemental Needs Trust.
These special needs trusts allow you to provide the resources that would allow your disabled loved one to enjoy a richer quality of life with purchases above and beyond basic needs. The trust's funds must be disbursed to third parties who provide goods and services to the disabled beneficiary, not directly to the disabled person. A special needs trust can be stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets or structured as sub-trusts of living trusts.
A disabled person can even set up a special needs trust and customize it to fit a unique situation. At the disabled person’s death, assets in the trust can be left to anyone or go toward repaying government benefits.
Family members with special needs - young and old, rich or poor - have rights and interests that can be protected. Our special needs attorneys help set up special needs trusts to accomplish specific goals and to preserve government benefit eligibility. Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of an estate plan when you have disabled beneficiaries.
Let's Plan For The Future
With just a little planning, you can protect your disabled loved one and relax with the peace of mind about what will happen should you become incapacitated or pass away.
Call us today at 205-663-0281 for a free consultation if you want to know more about Special Needs Trusts. John Holliman and Melanie B. Holliman (formerly Melanie B. Bradford) will help you so you can take care of your nest egg and your disabled loved ones.
Christine Graham and Betty Blalock, Paralegals,
with Melanie B. Holliman, Attorney
Golden Years in Alabama - Host Ryan Robnett interviews Melanie B. Holliman - May 2017