Estate Planning for Special Needs Children
More and more parents have children and grandchildren with disabilities. Some of these children and grandchildren will never be able to work and will be dependent on government assistance programs for income, housing, and/or health care. Many of these government assistance programs have limits as to the income and assets the disabled person can have before being declared ineligible for coverage. Examples of “needs-based” government assistance programs include Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), Medi-Cal, and HUD Section 8 Housing.
As cruel as it sounds, in years gone by, parents and grandparents would disinherit their special needs loved ones in order to preserve the child or grandchild’s needs based government assistance.
Some parents and grandparents would leave the disabled beneficiary’s inheritance to siblings or other relatives, with the request that the funds received be used for the benefit of the disabled loved. However, there are many problems with this estate planning strategy.
What is a Special Needs Trust?
A superior estate planning strategy is to create a Special Needs Trust for the beneficiary. The inheritance is held in a protected trust for the special needs child. Distributions can be made if there are any necessities that are not provided through government assistance. With a Special Needs Trust, the beneficiary has the best of all worlds. The special needs loved one maintains his or her government assistance programs. The beneficiary has a pool of funds available to provide for necessities, as well as niceties not available to the special needs child through a government assistance program.
Dennis M. Sandoval is Member of Special Needs Alliance
Dennis M. Sandoval is a proud member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization of estate planning attorneys who specialize in planning, drafting and administering Special Needs Trusts. Dennis M. Sandoval is one of only nine estate planning attorneys who are members of the Special Needs Alliance and he is the only member in the Riverside area.
If you are a member of a support organization for parents of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Mental Illness, Multiple Sclerosis, and other disabilities, contact us to have Dennis Sandoval give an educational presentation on Special Needs Trust and assembling a care transition team.