Many individuals with special needs receive benefits and services through state and federal programs, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As these are both needs-based government programs, a person who has too much cash, property, or other financial assets could lose their eligibility.
Preserving eligibility for a loved one with special needs is a critically important estate planning consideration. You must leave property and assets in a proper way. Otherwise, you could cause serious problems for your vulnerable loved one. A Special Needs Trust offers a solution. Here, our Northeast Ohio estate planning attorney explains what you need to know about Special Needs Trusts.
Leaving Money/Property Directly to Special Needs Individual Could Disqualify Them From Government Programs
Many people with disabilities and special needs rely on Medicaid. According to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, more than 300,000 disabled people in the state are receiving Medicaid benefits. Medicaid has very strict income and eligibility is subject to a stringent asset test. In fact, in many jurisdictions around the country, individuals with more than $2,000 in non-exempt assets could risk losing their benefits through Medicaid. While certain assets, such as a primary residence, may be exempt from asset tests, cash and other financial holdings will be counted.
A Special Needs Trust Allows You to Offer Financial Support Without Compromising Access to Benefits
A Special Needs Trust is a unique type of legal arrangement, whereby assets and property can be held for the benefit of a disabled person — while still protecting and preserving their eligibility for Medicaid, SSI and other important public programs. The assets contained in this type of trust can then be paid directly to cover certain costs not covered through these programs. As an example, you can leave assets in a Special Needs Trust to cover your vulnerable loved one’s telephone bills, internet costs and recreational expenses.
Special Needs Trusts are Complicated — Make Sure it is Properly Set Up
If you are interested in leaving money or property for a special needs child or family member in Northeast Ohio, it is imperative you consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer. Your trust must be set up in the proper manner. To be clear, you cannot simply leave them assets in any trust. Without the proper type of trust documents in place, you could inadvertently disqualify your vulnerable loved one from state and federal benefits — thereby defeating the entire purpose of creating a trust for their financial protection and security. Get professional help.
Call Our Cortland, OH Estate Planning Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
At The Law Office of John C. Grundy, our Ohio estate planning attorney has the skills and experience needed to help you create a Special Needs Trust. If you want to provide financial protection to your vulnerable loved one without impairing their eligibility for government benefits, we can help. For a no cost consultation, please contact us today. From our office in Cortland, we represent individuals and families throughout Northeast Ohio.