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Strategic Tax Advisers and Estate Planners

Special Needs Trusts

Families and caretakers of individuals with disabilities frequently worry about how best to fund their loved one’s long-term personal and financial needs—to assure the loved one has the resources necessary to lead and enjoy a fulfilling and comfortable life. The solution may be to establish a special needs trust—an estate planning tool often used to set aside funds for an individual with a disability that will not make the disabled individual ineligible or disqualified for needs-based governmental assistance programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. The experienced estate planning attorneys at Lawrence Kamin can assist families in designing, funding and administering a special needs trust that helps to accomplish that goal.

Planning for the well-being of a person who is receiving government assistance due to his or her special needs can be a challenging experience. Money given to that person, whether by gift or inheritance, can cause a loss of government assistance. Many families also worry that the most basic support provided through government benefits is not adequate for the individual to be comfortable. Furthermore, some disabled individuals do not respond well to traditional medical treatment, which is all that government benefit programs cover. Instead, those individuals may require innovative clinical trials or treatments, which may not be covered by the government programs.

A properly-structured special needs trust makes the assets in the trust available for a disabled individual’s supplemental needs, while still allowing the individual to qualify for Medicaid or SSI.

Failure to follow state and federal laws and regulations in the drafting or administering of these trusts risks disqualifying the beneficiary from governmental assistance or risks losing the assets the trust is intended to protect. Lawrence Kamin attorneys understand this complicated area of the law and have helped many individuals properly create special needs trusts and have advised corporate and individual fiduciaries on how to administer them, even after the family members who created them have passed on.

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