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We would like to thank our neighbors in Arlington for visiting our website. If you are looking for a licensed estate planning attorney in the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington area, you have found a reliable local resource. Located in Tarrant County, approximately 20 miles west of downtown Dallas, Arlington is part of the Mid-Cities region of the Dallas–Fort Worth–Arlington metropolitan area. Arlington is the third largest city in that metropolitan area with a population of nearly 380,000.

Serving our neighbors in Arlington

Arlington is not only home to the renowned research institution, the University of Texas at Arlington, but also to Green Oaks School, an astounding institution in its own right.  Green Oaks School has helped children with special needs for more than 17 years. Green Oaks School in Arlington has worked to aid students with intellectual disabilities to reach their dreams by supplying them with individualized, hands-on education.

Knowing when you need a Third-Party Special Needs Trust

For Dallas residents who have a loved one with special needs, a special needs trust can be an essential part of their estate plan.  Special needs trusts are often used to provide resources for your loved one, in the event of a caregiver’s death or incapacity, in order to ensure continued support and care.

What makes a special needs trust special?

A “special needs trust” is a special type of trust used principally for the benefit of someone with special needs or disabilities.  Planning ahead for the future care and support of a loved one that has special needs is a wise move.  You never know when the primary caregiver may be unable to continue serving in that role.

Choosing the scope of your special needs trusts

The purpose of special needs trusts is to guarantee future care and support for individuals with special needs or disabilities.  Therefore, the kind of trust you may need to create depends on the type of care and support you are looking to provide.  Your options include the General Support Special Needs Trust and the Supplemental Care Special Needs Trust.

A General Support Special Needs Trust is typically used as the primary source of benefits for a disabled individual.  It is important to remember that assets included in this type of trust can ultimately disqualify a beneficiary from receiving need-based government benefits, such as Medicaid or SSI.

The Supplemental Care Special Needs Trust is probably the most common type used.  This particular trust is meant to supplement the support from government benefits once those benefits have been exhausted. In other words, the Supplemental Care Special Needs Trust can provide for other needs that SSI and Medicaid do not provide.

What is a Third-Party Special Needs Trust?

A third-party special needs trust is the most commonly used special needs trust.  The appointed trustee will use the funds in the trust to ensure the continued support of the individual with special needs.  The trustee is obliged, as part of his or her fiduciary duty, to comply with all of the requirements and instructions established in the trust document.  For example, the trustee must ensure that the trust funds are not used for any purpose that would make the beneficiary ineligible for government benefits.  What makes a third-party special needs trust so valuable is the fact that the beneficiary does not own the property in the trust and does not have direct access to the trust property.

Why is it called a “third-party” trust?

The trust is so named because the trust is funded by someone other than the beneficiary and the property is owned by someone else, a third-party.  In other words, the source of the trust funds determines what type of trust it is. This particular type of trust does not interfere with your loved one’s eligibility for government benefits.

However, if your loved one receives the trust property directly, such as from an inheritance, court settlement or insurance proceeds, that property will not be protected and may jeopardize Medicaid benefits.

How does a First-Party Special Needs Trusts Differ?

A first-party special needs trust is the estate planning instrument used to protect property actually owned by the person with special needs. There are a variety of situations where this type of arrangement would be sufficient.  For instance, when a person with special needs acquires property from a lawsuit, divorce settlement, retirement plan, life insurance policy or inheritance.  That property should be placed in a first-party trust because the property belongs to that person.  The trust will allow the individual with special needs to remain eligible for government benefits, as the property will no longer be owned by that person directly, but instead belong to the trust.

If you have questions regarding special needs trusts or any other estate planning matters, please contact the experienced attorneys at The Vermillion Law Firm, LLC for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (972) 366-7201 . We are here to help!

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