Edmond Special Needs Trusts Attorneys
Financial Planning for Your Loved One with Special Needs
A loved one with special needs requires a particular mode of care that likely only you, your family, and their healthcare providers understand. Individuals with special needs move through the world differently and can have a more challenging time obtaining lucrative employment or other income necessary to living their lives. While government programs exist to supplement the incomes of those with special needs, it may not be enough for them to live their lives once you are not around to help them.
You might be worried if they will have enough to get by once you pass away. You might consider leaving them money only to realize doing so could endanger their means-tested government benefits. The solution to giving you and your loved one the peace of mind they deserve may lie in a special needs trust, which is specifically designed to augment the beneficiary’s income while protecting their eligibility for critical government support.
Our Edmond special needs trusts attorneys at Gossen and Schaller, PLLC have substantial experience assisting clients in establishing and administrating these specialized trusts. We can walk you through each step in creating the trust and make sure it is consistent with the beneficiary’s goals.
Why a Special Needs Trust Is Often Necessary
The process of creating and maintaining a trust can seem overwhelming and confusing if you are not familiar with the process. You might be wondering if the costs and resources involved are worth the trouble, especially if you believe you have ample financial resources to support your loved one with special needs.
The reality is that most people with special needs can greatly benefit from a special needs trust, even if they have loved ones with considerable financial resources to support them. Consider that your loved one, especially if they are your child, is reasonably likely to live longer than you. They also are likely to have more medical expenses than the average person, and their living expenses relating to their differently abled needs are also bound to be higher than others’ as well.
Even if you are able to leave them a great deal of financial resources after you are gone, will they be able to manage their estate on their own? Will those resources last the length of their life? It can be challenging enough to save and plan for your own retirement – do you have enough to support them for an indeterminate number of years, too?
The good news is the United States government offers Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for special needs individuals with low incomes. The program offers continuing financial support that helps these individuals live their lives and afford necessary medical treatment. This support is means-tested, however, meaning that in order for a beneficiary to successfully apply, they must have no more than $2,000 in assets in their own name. If an individual has or at some point gains more than that amount, they are required to put their assets into a first-party trust that will ultimately reimburse the government.
You might choose to leave your loved one with special needs a great sum of money as part of an inheritance as part of your last will and testament. This is a common mistake that can inadvertently create obstacles to your loved one’s long-term financial security. Simply giving an individual with special needs a large number of resources precludes them from SSI and similar programs, meaning they will be unable to collect additional financial support and may eventually run out of resources.
With all of this in mind, one of the best legal tools to help a loved one with special needs is a third-party special needs trust. This trust, often established by family members and then administrated by a qualified trustee can hold practically any type of financial asset. Most importantly, though, the trust shelters funds from the direct possession of the beneficiary. In other words, your loved one with special needs will still qualify for SSI and other government benefits, because all of their material and financial assets will be protected by the trust.
Additionally, a special needs trust appoints a trustee to manage the financial assets and affairs of the beneficiary. The trustee should be someone you trust who is also heavily experienced in managing this type of financial entity, as they will be responsible for filing related taxes and operating the trust in such a way that it does not accidentally jeopardize the beneficiary’s government benefits. Many will elect their legal representation, including our Edmond special needs trust attorneys at Gossen and Schaller, PLLC, who have a track record of managing special needs trusts of varying sizes. This gives you the peace of mind that someone will be looking out for your loved one with special needs after you are gone.
Let Us Help Protect Your Loved Ones with Special Needs
Building a special needs trust is a responsible, virtuous act that takes proactive steps to protect the future of your loved one with special needs. A well-drafted trust can ensure the beneficiary enjoys financial security and comfort they may not have otherwise had. Creating a robust special needs trust can be a complex process, and our team at Gossen and Schaller, PLLC are prepared to make the process as intuitive and affordable as possible. You can discuss the specific details of your situation with our Edmond special needs trusts lawyers, and we can help establish and even administrate a trust consistent with your goals.
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