The Benefits of Special Needs Trusts
If you are caring for a loved one with special needs, a properly designed and implemented special needs trust can provide a number of important benefits.
Maximize Quality of Life While Protecting Government Assistance Eligibility
A special needs trust allows you to provide funds that can help improve the quality of life for your special needs loved one without jeopardizing eligibility for necessary government assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Funds in the trust can be used for all of the following and more:
- Medical procedures or therapies not available through government assistance
- Supplemental nursing home care and private companion services
- Travel expenses
- Entertainment expenses such as movies, concerts or electronic equipment
- Fees for guardians and attorneys
- Other services and products not provided by a government assistance program
Lower Costs for Healthcare Services
Medical providers who have contracts with the state to provide Medicaid services generally deliver those services for much less than beneficiaries paying privately. In situations where the special needs trust must reimburse the state for services provided over the beneficiary’s lifetime (the payback provision), reimbursement will be for this lower cost and avoid any penalties or interest.
Avoid the Stress and Expense of a Guardianship Proceeding
A properly designed special needs trust can avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding over property issues because trusts are recognized as a less restrictive means to guardianship. This in turn can protect the beneficiary from having to pay for the ongoing costs and formalities of maintaining a guardianship.
You should know that various government assistance programs have their own sets of rules and that these rules can be extremely complicated. An improperly designed special needs trust could jeopardize your loved one’s eligibility for assistance from SSI and Medicaid. For a properly designed and implemented special needs trust, you should work with an attorney who has experience in this complicated area of the law.
An Attorney With Experience in Special Needs Trusts
If you’re caring for a loved one with special needs, you could benefit from an attorney with experience in this field. At the Law Offices of Clifford M. Cohen, we have more than 35 years of legal experience and are dedicated to helping you protect the people you love the most.
An estate planning attorney serving the DC and Maryland area can help guide you through the proper implementation of a special needs trust. Call our offices at (202) 895-2799 today for a free consultation.