- Estate Planning
- Elder Law
- Special Needs Trusts
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A family’s resources can be quickly depleted when caring for an individual with a disability (the Beneficiary) who may have many medical needs, and for whom it may be difficult or impossible to find sufficient medical insurance. For most families it is crucial for the Beneficiary to become eligible and maintain eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Medicaid Waiver, and similar programs. These programs provide funds for basic support in addition to medical coverage, and may also provide services such as case management, therapies and support services, residential facilities, day programs, job training, and job support.
The key component of an Estate Plan for a family with a Special Needs child will be a Special Needs Trust (SNT). A SNT can be set up to receive funds from any source—whether the proceeds be from a life insurance policy, a bequest under a Will, funds from a litigation settlement, or other source. The SNT will contain specific provisions that allow the assets in the Trust to be disregarded for determining eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, and other governmental programs that are based on financial need. In most circumstances, the Trust will not be funded until one or both parents are deceased. The Trust then receives assets from the parent or parents’ estates or through life insurance policies or the beneficiary designations on employee benefits.
SNTs are heavily scrutinized by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. A beneficiary can become ineligible to receive services based on one incorrect provision in a Trust. It is extremely important that an individual with a disability have a Special Needs Trust to ensure that he or she remains eligible for necessary services. We, the Attorneys at Hayes & Wilson PLLC, help our clients tailor a Trust for their current family situation and make sure that it has all of the proper language so that their loved one remains eligible for services.
If you have a Special Needs child whose future you need to plan for, contact us for a consultation. Our Attorneys will discuss what provisions most appropriately fit your family’s needs.