Special Needs Trusts and Planning

Special Needs Trusts and Planning

Our firm specializes in Special Needs Planning for families with a disabled loved one. Through the use of Trusts, Special Needs Trusts or Supplemental Needs Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Guardianship proceedings, we enable our clients to plan for the unique physical, mental, and financial requirements of a family member with special needs. We assist our clients in structuring their succession plan in a manner that will avoid jeopardizing government benefits which their loved one may be receiving.

Persons with disabilities and their families face significant challenges when designing an estate plan. Lawyers must be able to construct an estate plan to ensure that assets will be received and used for the disabled person as intended without jeopardizing governmental benefits. In Pennsylvania a Special Needs Trust is a trust designed to supplement government benefits. There are three main types of Special Needs Trusts: 1)Common Law Trust 2)Payback Trust and 3)OBRA Pooled Trust.

By utilizing a Special Needs Trust, the disabled family member can continue receiving governmental benefits (Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other services) even though assets are over the eligibility limit. Assets in a Special Needs Trust can be used for such purposes as funeral planning, medical and dental care not otherwise covered by public assistance or private insurance, psychiatric / psychological / recreational / occupational therapy, home care aides, education, transportation, furnishings, and quality of life enhancements. However, funds cannot be directed to food, housing, or clothing needs unless the governmental benefits are insufficient to meet those needs.

Federal and State laws determine the legal ramifications of Special Needs Trusts. This is a complex area of law and you should always consult an attorney familiar with Special Needs Trusts in your state to determine what plan is best for your situation.

Recent Representation Matters:
  • Established a Third Party Special Needs Trust for a couple and allowed grandparent to include the trust in her Will to ensure that the disabled individual would not receive any direct inheritance that would affect government benefits.
  • Drafted a Payback Trust to ensure disabled individual would continue to be eligible for government benefits despite receiving a large sum from a trust.
  • Helped client establish an ABLE account so she could continue to work and save money while continuing to receive government benefits.
  • Helped clients argue for continued medical assistance for their son when the local county assistance office terminated eligibility.
  • Drafted Powers of Attorney for disabled individual to sign so that his parents and then his brother would be able to help him make decisions in the future.

The information within this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own particular situation.