Do you have a loved one with special needs? Planning for continued care in the case of your incapacitation or death is an important consideration. When you are gone or can no longer care for a loved one, a special needs trust can be vital. Let The Caregiver Foundation refer you to a reliable attorney and then help you with daily management of your Special Needs trust! We will ensure that your loved ones maintain a high quality of life free of financial exploitation.
What is a Special Needs Trust?
A Special Needs Trust is a specialized legal document designed for beneficiaries who are disabled, either physically or mentally. The beneficiary can use the property in the trust for his/her benefit while still being able to receive essential government benefits.
Trust funds must be spent on supportive items or services that can NOT be provided through government funding, such as specialist services not covered by MedQuest, services to help you learn a job or skill, certain travel opportunities, or even communication devices (such as cell phones, etc.)!
A Special Needs Trust CANNOT provide a beneficiary with direct cash (including cash cards or gift cards), provide payment for anything that doesn’t directly benefit the beneficiary, or provide payment for loans, debts, and other obligations.
Why is a Special Needs Trust important?
A Special Needs Trust will protect your loved one from losing government benefits such as Medicaid, state housing assistance, food subsidies, and other income- and asset-based programs. Providing extra money, as opposed to a trust, could compromise a loved one’s qualifications for government assistance!
There is also an administrative advantage of using a trust to hold and manage property for a beneficiary if he/she lacks the legal capacity to handle his/her financial affairs.
Who is in control of my Special Needs Trust?
The money in a Special Needs trust is controlled by the Trustee. Most often, this is you during your lifetime. You must designate a replacement in the event of your death or incapacitation, usually someone you and your special needs loved one knows well.
Daily trust management can be left to professional administrators or qualified money managers, such as The Caregiver Foundation!
How will my loved one be able to use a Special Needs Trust?
There are no restrictions on WHEN the money in a Special Needs Trust can be used. These trusts are normally used to supplement or enhance the quality of life for the beneficiary – your special needs loved one. Trust funds can be used for things like transportation, rehabilitation, education, home health needs, and entertainment, including travel. These will not count against a loved one’s qualification for government benefits (i.e. food, housing, and medical costs, etc.)
Funds must be spent on supportive things that can in no other way be provided through government funding. Each request will be assessed against specific criteria (listed below). Funds are not immediately available. A Trust is not a piggy bank of money meant to be casually spent.
Requests for funds are assessed on:
- Urgency: Is there a condition threatening well-being?)
- Type of service or product needed
- Impact of purchase on Trust longevity: If a request will spend down the Trust too rapidly, the intent of the Trust would require careful consideration of how the immediate need for funds would balance out against future needs.
When should I set up a Special Needs Trust?
It is usually a good idea to set up a trust and begin funding it as soon as you realize it is necessary.
Although you can wait to fund it until after your death – as with a life insurance policy – having money going into the fund on a regular basis during your lifetime means that there are funds available for use at your discretion.
How do I get started setting up a Special Needs Trust?
Contact The Caregiver Foundation for an attorney referral today. We will keep in contact with both you and your attorney to keep track of your Special Needs Trust’s progress. We can also provide daily trust management service to those with Special Needs Trusts already in place. Call us today at (808) 625-3782 or email us.