At times we may find ourselves caring for a loved one who is unable to function independently. Whether their disability is from injury, illness, or other causes, legal and financial issues arise when the person receives sizable funds such as an inheritance or lawsuit settlement. The money is intended for the use and care of the person with the disability. Without proper planning and legal safeguards in place, they may no longer qualify for state benefits. An inheritance or settlement can be quickly spent as it must be used to fully pay for the person’s immediate expenses.
This hurdle can be minimized with a Special Needs Trust. This legal structure is created specifically for a person with a disability in order to protect the person’s financial assets. With a Special Needs Trust, the person qualifies to receive state disability assistance while still able to use the settlement or inheritance money available for their care and comfort. This protected money is often needed for the many goods and services that state aid does not cover, such as medical supplies, therapies, dental services, vehicles, computers, furniture, and even expenses for travel, education, and job training.
There are two types of Special Needs Trusts. A First Party Special Needs Trust is funded with money belonging to the person with a disability. A Third-Party Special Needs Trust is funded by a private donor.
At the 417 Business & Elder Law & 417 Elder Law, we understand the high costs and stress involved in caring for a family member with a disability and the importance of protecting the benefits they receive. We help you think through the various options available and the continuing effects of each. You can then make a well-informed decision about what is best for your loved one. We give our clients peace of mind knowing that their family members will have every resource available for their long-term comfort and support.
This article was also published in the printed version of the Volume 6 Jan-Mar 2017 Newsletter (PDF).
Please call our office at (417) 887-4170 if you have any questions about this article or would like to receive our mailed newsletter.