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Financial and Care Essentials for the Future

Individualized Plan

For Each Person

"Special Needs Planning" has a very different meaning for each individual or family member/caretaker. The discussions should involve an understanding of the nature of the disability, potential private resources for that individual, and government benefits that may be available.

Also extremely important, is an understanding of the individual's personal life circumstances such as abilities and limitations, personal goals/desires, relationships with family and friends, available network of support and possible needs throughout that individual's lifetime.

Receiving Benefits

Estate Planning Options

When a loved one has a disability, estate planning options are available as tools to ensure that he or she receives the needed benefits (such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid) while also being able to use private resources to purchase extras that are not covered by those benefits.

For instance, if an individual with disabilities needs a vehicle with accommodations or a service dog, funds from a Special Needs Trust could purchase those items. Such disbursements may take the form of educational expenses, therapy, medical services not covered by Medicaid, phone bills, recreation, entertainment, etc.

Special Needs Trusts

Two Different Types

Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits can be discontinued if an individual on those benefits receives a gift, life insurance disbursement, inheritance, court settlement or judgment directly.

The tool that estate planning attorneys use to preserve those assets is called a Special Needs Trust or Supplemental Needs Trust. There are two types of Special Needs Trusts – Third Party Special Needs Trusts and First Party Special Needs Trusts.