If you have a loved one with a disability or special needs, you are likely concerned about providing for him or her financially. However, gifting funds or property outright — through an inheritance or otherwise — can jeopardize your loved one's eligibility for vital public assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Special-needs and supplemental-needs trusts allow you to provide for your loved one without impeding his or her benefit eligibility.
In addition to special-needs trusts, it is important for families with loved ones with special needs to plan for other life issues, such as who will serve as guardian down the road and who else in the loved one's life needs to be involved in the planning process. I provide families that need to engage in special-needs planning with more than just a document related to assets. I encourage and provide the tools for comprehensive planning with regard to all aspects of the loved one's life.
At Tolison & Williams, Attorneys at Law, LLC, I understand how important it is to provide for your loved ones, particularly those with special needs. I provide all families with the respect and attention they deserve and need and provide clients with children or loved ones with special needs a variety of tools to accomplish their long-term goals.
Special-needs trusts can be created at any time. For example, you can create such a trust as part of the estate planning process to establish an inheritance for a grandchild, relative or loved one. Many parents establish a trust when their child with special needs nears age 18. Additionally, if a loved one with disabilities receives an award or settlement from a lawsuit, a trust is necessary to preserve those funds for his or her benefit.
The trust can provide many types of support for your loved one. For example, trust funds may be used to provide:
As with any other trust, the trustee will be responsible for managing the trust assets and making distributions according to the trust terms. You can either serve as the trustee yourself or appoint someone else — such as a trusted friend, relative or even a bank — to fill that role. The trustee will act as a fiduciary, which means he or she must place the beneficiary's interests above his or her own.
By seeking professional legal guidance, you can craft a special-needs trust that accomplishes your goals and fits your unique circumstances.
For example, you can place contingencies on distributions and name successor trustees and beneficiaries.
Please call 303-500-7706 to arrange a consultation. My office is located in Brighton, Colorado.