Special Needs Planning
Special needs planning involves ensuring the continued care of your Dallas area special-needs loved one when you can no longer do so. If you have a loved one whose disability requires care after you’re gone, now is the time to begin planning for that care.
What Is a Special Needs Plan?
A Texas special needs plan allows you to create a trust that holds funds for the care of your special needs loved one while allowing that individual to remain eligible for government benefits. The best option is to create a third-party special needs trust. The third-party trust carries many advantages for your special-needs loved one.
- Allows for continued benefit access
- Accepts contributions from family members and friends
- Allows for putting disposition provisions in place in case the beneficiary does not survive you
Your special needs plan should also include appointing a guardian for your loved one. You may want to create temporary guardianships and health care authorizations to cover the period until your permanent guardian can assume care. Also, ensure HIPPA medical privacy authorizations to access medical records are in place for any guardians or health care powers of attorney.
Benefits of a Special Needs Plan
Having special needs plans in place means that your loved one will not experience a gap in care at your death. The trustee, who is probably also the guardian, can begin immediately caring for your special needs beneficiary.
A critical aspect of this care is the ability to protect the trust assets from the beneficiary’s creditors. Your trustee will have control of the spending. Strict rules govern using special needs assets, particularly if your loved one receives Social Security SSI.
It’s best to ensure your special needs lawyer in Dallas understands these requirements and drafts them into the trust and special needs plan.
How Does It Work?
Properly constructed, your special needs trust and plan will allow your special needs loved one to remain eligible for government benefits, no matter how large the assets are.
At the same time, your trustee ensures that other needs and wants are met with trust assets. Your special needs attorney, Dallas, TX, can ensure that your loved one is well cared for with a supplemental trust or a special needs trust – or both – or both.
A supplemental trust, as the name implies, supplements existing government benefits. In contrast, a traditional special needs trust lets you operate around the government benefits, spending money on items that might otherwise adversely impact your loved one’s access to government benefits.
Your special needs lawyers in Dallas will endeavor to ensure that your loved one has access to the best quality of life possible.
Things To Include in Your Special Needs Plan
The first thing to include in your special needs trust is funding. Once you become aware of the long-term needs, you can establish your trust and fund it with a small savings account in the name of the trust.
You – and those wishing to give gifts to the special needs individual – can then make regular deposits to that account. Alternatively or additionally, you can also make your loved one’s trust a beneficiary of your estate by leaving a bequest to the estate in your will.
You should be sure to plan for the following in your special needs plan and trust:
- A competent and knowledgeable trustee and a successor. These individuals will be the ones to carry out your goals for your loved one; make sure they can and will do so. Texas investment and tax rules and record keeping requirements are especially important for this individual to understand.
- Construction of the trust to avoid payback provisions and continued access to government benefits.
- A list of the services and goods that your trustee can purchase using trust funds without impacting benefits eligibility
- A list of your loved one’s current benefits
You should establish trust as soon as you know your loved one will need it. Doing so allows others, like loving grandparents, to include the special needs trust in their own estate plans. The Vermillion Law Firm’s special needs attorney Dallas TX with an extensive practice in special needs trusts, can help you get started now.