Special Needs Protection

Ensure that your loved one with disabilities is cared for in the future.

Special needs estate planning focuses on providing care for the needs of our loved ones with disabilities after we are gone. With proper planning you can ensure that your special needs child or loved one has proper personal supervision, money management and coordination of benefits. This can be a daunting task but having the right Elder Law attorney can help you through it.

Parents of children with special needs must make careful estate planning choices to coordinate all of their children’s legal, financial, and special care needs – both now and in the future.

We work with you to understand your financial situation and your priorities regarding the care of your loved one. We also determine what benefits are available to provide medical, financial, and domestic support to your special needs child.

Special Needs Trusts

Usually receiving an inheritance, lawsuit settlement, or other monies will disqualify a special needs person from their government benefits. Special Needs Trusts are used to enhance the disabled person’s life while still allowing them to receive their public benefits such as Social Security Disability (SSI), Medicaid or housing support (HUD). These types of benefits are needs based which means that the recipient only qualifies when they have very limited assets. If such a person would receive an inheritance, it would disqualify them from continued receipt of the benefits.

Funds in a Special Needs Trust are managed by a Trustee to provide for the beneficiary. They are provided to supplement benefits already being received. The funds can pay for medical care and comfort needs (travel, education, wheelchair accessible van, entertainment, clothing and more).

There are two types of Special Needs Trusts that our office can create.

First Party Trust: Created with the beneficiary’s own funds. These funds may come from sources such as a lawsuit settlement, a gift or an inheritance. They are held and managed by a trustee but upon the death of the beneficiary, remaining funds must be paid back to the State of Pennsylvania as reimbursement for benefits received.

A first party trust is for individuals receiving SSI or Veteran’s Benefits that come into large amounts of money. The trust allows the special needs person to retain benefits while still being able to use his own funds when necessary.

Third Party Trust: Created with funds of someone other than the beneficiary. The main difference between this and a First Party Trust is that there is no need for pay-back provisions. Any funds remaining in the trust can pass to other family members, or to charity, without having to reimburse the government.

Even if a trust is properly established and funded, the special needs individual’s public benefits could be reduced or eliminated if the trust funds are used improperly. Given the complexity of this field, you should always consult with an experienced Special Needs Trusts attorney to determine if and what type of Special Needs Trust is needed.

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Special Needs FAQs

With proper planning you can ensure that your special needs child or loved one has:

  • Proper personal supervision
  • Money management
  • Coordination of benefits

This can be a daunting task. Our office has worked with hundreds of special needs families and is happy to help. Contact us to learn more.

A Special Needs Trust allows your child to remain in his environment and retain his benefit eligibility. The inheritance you provide can supplement his needs where required.

Be sure that when you set up a trust, you do it with a qualified Special Needs Planning attorney. Trust funds that are used improperly could cause your loved one to become ineligible for his public benefits. Contact us to learn more.

Yes, with proper planning, your proceeds from your car accident settlement can be set up to supplement rather than supplant your SSI benefits.

There are also situations where it may be advantageous to take the money and disqualify yourself from your benefits for a period of time. Contact us to learn more.

Failing to properly plan now can lead to heartache havoc pain stress for your loved ones down the road.

We look forward to speaking with you

Select a date and time to schedule your FREE consultation with Attorney Robert Pecori ($500 value!).

During this call, we let you do the talking.

If there are opportunities for us to help, we will discuss the next steps after having a better understanding of your needs.

For the safety of our clients and staff we are scheduling these over the internet via Zoom meeting. If you do not have computer access, please contact our office at (412) 788-2000.

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