SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING

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When you have a beneficiary who has special needs, you
need to make sure you have everything set up so that the
special needs beneficiary can continue receiving benefits
even after you pass away. The Davidson Law Group has
lawyers ready to help you with special needs planning.

Special needs in legal terms is a fairly wide-reaching definition. Special needs can include anything from physical disabilities, chronic illness, mental disabilities, to even emotional difficulties. If you are a parent or a caretaker of a person or child with special needs, there are many programs available to help with the aid and care of the person with special needs. Special needs estate planning allows the special needs person to retain his or her eligibility for public benefits while providing supplemental benefits through a special needs estate plan. Special needs planning requires an immense amount of knowledge and organization, so a special needs lawyer from the Davidson Law Group can definitely help in this respect.

SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING

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Special needs in legal terms is a fairly wide-reaching definition. Special needs can include anything from physical disabilities, chronic illness, mental disabilities, to even emotional difficulties. If you are a parent or a caretaker of a person or child with special needs, there are many programs available to help with the aid and care of the person with special needs. Special needs estate planning allows the special needs person to retain his or her eligibility for public benefits while providing supplemental benefits through a special needs estate plan. Special needs planning requires an immense amount of knowledge and organization, so a special needs lawyer from the Davidson Law Group can definitely help in this respect.

Special Needs Trusts |

If you are a parent or caretaker of a special needs person and you are leaving assets to him or her through a will or through intestate probate (passing away without a will), the inheritance of the beneficiary can severely jeopardize his or her ability to continue receiving any government benefits after you pass. This is why special needs or supplemental needs trusts are so important because they can preserve a special needs individual’s ability to continue receiving public benefits while allowing them to also receive an inheritance. The inheritance will go into a special needs trust and will be available to supplement his or her government benefits and enhance his or her life. Simply put, a special needs trust is a trust created to hold assets and property of a special needs beneficiary and then distribute supplemental funds while allowing him or her to maintain government benefits.

Davidson Law Group and special needs planning.

QUALIFICATIONS

To qualify for most government benefits, an individual must own less than $2,000 of countable assets, so if a special needs person were to inherit more than this amount, they would automatically lose their eligibility for these benefits.

Special needs trusts are specifically designed to shield these assets in such a way that they are not calculated as countable assets for the individual receiving public benefits. Many traditional trusts allow for the funds to be used for a beneficiary’s health, welfare, and support, but special needs trusts are only meant to supplement the government benefits, not replace them. Also, supplemental trusts do not allow the special needs person to be in control of the assets because if they did, the assets would become countable for purposes of receiving government entitlements. So, a friend, family member, or professional should be the trustee of these trusts and manage the assets, distribute the assets as needed, or change the terms of the trust so that the special needs individual can continue qualifying for other public benefits.

SPECIAL NEEDS BENEFITS

There are a large variety of benefits on the State and Federal level of which special needs individuals are able to take advantage. The different requirements for and large amount of benefits can be a bit overwhelming, so it’s good to have a special needs planning lawyer to help you pinpoint what is available to you. The Davidson Law Group has special needs planning lawyers ready to help you. There are numerous programs available to special needs individuals, and we have made a list of some special needs benefits below:

· Medicaid: General medical care and services.

· Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): Helps individuals with disabilities that have not been capable of working for at least a year due to their disability.

· Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps): Provides food allowances for people who have disabilities.

· Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Provides shelter allowances for people with disabilities.

Staying Organized is Critical |

If you are a parent or a caretaker of a special needs individual, it is crucial for you to keep your documentation organized. We recommend keeping it all in one place that is secure but easy for you to access. Typically, the best thing you can do is keep an organized file in a fireproof lockbox or safe. If you have children or dependents with special needs, make sure you have information and a plan formulated for caregivers who would take over should you pass away. Make sure to be vigilant about updating your files and information whenever need be. A special needs planning lawyer from the Davidson Law Group can help make this part of special needs planning easier.

Laptop, notepad and smartphone - Davidson Law Group.

Basic Documentation to Keep in Your File

No one has a file that is exactly the same; they will differ based on the individual’s needs, but there are a few things that most files will have in common. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will give you a good idea of what a typical Special Needs File may look like:

  • All important legal documents, including birth certificates, Social Security cards, medical records, prescriptions, and health insurance;
  • Letter of Intent: This document should contain all the information that future caregivers may need. Details of the daily routine for your child and other vital medical advice should be in this document. Include anything you think would be important for a future caregiver to know, including but not limited to favorite foods, eating habits, activities/hobbies, and sleeping preferences;
  • End of life wishes such as final resting place and burial service details;
  • Lists of Various Other Important Aspects of Your Child’s Care:
  • Power of Attorney, Advanced Medical Directives, and Guardianship documents;
  • Copies of any Trusts;
  • Information on assets such as bank accounts and insurance policies;
  • Copies of applications for benefits your child receives;
  • Information on any government agencies or caseworkers with whom you’ve dealt;
  • Tax returns for the Special Needs individual;
  • Family photographs or nostalgic mementos;
  • Information about educational and housing programs.

Let a Special Needs Planning Attorney At Davidson Law Group Help

Special needs planning can be stressful, especially when you have so much on your plate. A special needs planning lawyer can be a great help in making this process much easier. The Davidson Law Group would be happy to help; just contact us today for more information or view the Davidson Law Group website.