Frequently Asked Questions – Special Needs Planning

Answers to assist with special needs planning

Q: What is Special Needs Planning and how will it benefit my loved one?

BRMM is home to a team of attorneys who specialize in those legal needs unique to families of loved ones with special needs. Our goal is to help you plan for the future and security of your special loved one with a disability. No doubt you have wondered who will care and provide for your child with special needs after you are gone. How do you pass money on your special needs loved one (when he or she cannot have more than $2,000) without affecting their governmental benefits?

We fully understand that every parent should complete proper planning to protect their children after they pass on. However, for a parent of a child with special needs, planning is a MUST. The future and security of your special needs loved one depends on it!
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Q: Why is a will simply not enough?

If you were to die with only a will in place, or if you gift assets to your child with a disability, any money left to your child is, in reality, a gift to the government. Your child will lose government benefits (such as SSI or Medicaid), and jeopardize medical coverage, while your well-intentioned money is spent down to almost nothing. Unfortunately, many parents simply disinherit a child with special needs so this does not happen. There is a better way.
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Q: What should I have in place instead of a will?

There is an alternative to the harsh realities of a will, and it is a perfect solution: The Special Needs Trust (SNT). The SNT is the ONLY reliable method to make sure your money benefits your special needs child. A properly drafted SNT will allow your money to supplement your child’s benefits, and not replace them. With an SNT, your money can be used for extra medical care, personal items such as TVs, radios, computers, vacations, companionship, advocates or other items of services to enhance your child’s self-esteem or situation.
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Q: Can my attorney draft a Special Needs Trust?

Not all trusts are the same and not all lawyers are knowledgeable in the area of Special Needs Planning. If an SNT is prepared with the wrong wording, then the government will disallow the trust and your child’s benefits will be lost. Even if the SNT is carefully crafted, extreme caution must be used in designating how the money will be spent. For Supplemental Security Income, even as little as $20 of unearned income per month will reduce benefits.

Anyone attempting to establish a trust for a loved one with disability must be well versed in the nuances of the law to avoid such traps. To create a trust that will fully protect your loved one you need an experienced law firm specializing in laws affecting the future of those with special needs.

The caring, compassionate lawyers of BRMM specialize in special needs planning, and we will be glad to answer any questions regarding the planning for your loved one’s future. Call us today for a free consultation. The sooner you act, the sooner you’ll enjoy peace of mind.
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