Questions To Ask When Setting Up A Special-Needs Trust

Special-needs planning needs to be as unique as the circumstances of the individual needing support. Each potential trust beneficiary brings a unique set of income sources, family support, physical and mental abilities, and developmental needs based upon his or her age. At Burnett & Griffin, PLLC, we understand the nuances of the financial and legal factors at play.

At a minimum, the following should be clarified as a family begins to set up a special-needs trust:

  • How old is the beneficiary? Is this a minor who will require decades of care or an adult whose elderly parents are struggling with Medicaid pre-planning challenges?
  • Does the special-needs individual have income sources such as an inheritance or money received through a lawsuit?
  • Does the trust beneficiary receive income-sensitive government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
  • What sorts of care does the beneficiary require? Could funds from the trust supplement care that is not provided through government benefits?
  • Does this individual require a guardianship to be set up to manage his or her affairs, including the management of a special-needs trust?

Types Of Special-Needs Trusts We Handle

Once you have established the precise needs of your trust beneficiary, it is possible to create a trust that will cover the expected and projected issues he or she may face over a lifetime. The most common types of special-needs trusts our firm drafts include:

  1. First-party special-needs trusts, which protect money that belongs to the beneficiary, such as an inheritance or money from a lawsuit
  2. Third-party special-needs trusts, which provide protection for money given to a disabled individual from a donor, such as a parent or other relative
  3. Pooled trusts, which rely on a nonprofit agency to administer pooled resources in a master trust for the benefit of all those covered by the trust

Our attorneys can discuss the pros and cons of each trust type and walk you through the process of forming the trust. We also can offer information for using STABLE accounts to special-needs families, which allow individuals with disabilities to save and invest money while still receiving public benefits such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Let Us Help You Take Care Of Your Loved Ones With Special Needs

Our firm's lawyers can help you think through the best strategies for protecting your relatives with special needs for a lifetime. We serve clients throughout Hardin County and the surrounding area from our office in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. For a free case assessment, call us at 270-506-0246 or email us to set up your appointment.