A serious disability can affect the ability to both earn and manage money. Because people with special needs often have financial limitations, it is common for loved ones like parents and grandparents to provide financially for them. Parents and other caregivers may also need to make provisions to arrange care for a loved one with a disability that makes independent living impossible.
Unfortunately, making a care giving plan and providing a financial gift can be very complicated. Making mistakes in how gifts are given could put important government benefits at risk, so special needs planning is rarely a DIY process.
The Potter Law Firm can provide the assistance you need to make sure special needs planning goes as smoothly as possible. Contact us today at (704) 944-3245 or (606) 324-5516 to discover more about what is involved with special needs planning and to get help from an experienced attorney who will work with you to make a personalized plan. We can also provide answers to common queries about special needs planning including:
- Why is special needs planning important?
- What is involved in special needs planning?
- How can a special needs planning lawyer provide assistance?
Why is Special Needs Planning Important?
Special needs planning is one of the single most important things that you can do when there is someone in your life who you care about who is disabled. A person with a serious disabling condition often cannot earn enough money to live the fullest life possible, so friends and family will make financial contributions. Unfortunately, well-meaning gifts given inter vivos (during the giver’s lifetime) or given posthumously (after the giver’s death) could result in the loss of very important means-tested benefits including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
You should not have to be restricted in giving a financial gift to a loved one with a disability because of Medicaid and SSI resource limitations. Special needs planning makes sure this does not happen. You can structure your gift appropriately so the money or property that you provide is not counted as a disqualifying resource for any means-tested government benefits programs.
While providing financially is often a primary concern, there are other issues for caregivers of people with special needs as well. If your loved one with a disability cannot live independently or make legal decisions on his or her own, you will need to arrange a care plan and name a guardian for when you can no longer act as caregiver.
You may put a family member in charge of providing care, or find an appropriate residential facility where your loved one can live. Whatever your goal is for naming a guardian and finding a long-term care solution, you should make certain to take steps to accomplish this goal right away. You never know when or if something could happen to you, leaving your loved one with a disability very vulnerable unless there are plans in place.
What is Involved in Special Needs Planning?
The process of special needs planning differs depending upon whether your only goal is to make a financial contribution or whether you need to arrange for physical care and legal decision making for a person with a disability.
A special needs planning lawyer can provide you with help in understanding what your plans should entail. For most gift-givers, the main focus of the special needs planning process is the creation of a special needs trust. A special needs trust allows for assets to be used to supplement the needs of a person with a disability and to provide more benefits and luxuries than would be available through government benefits alone. A special needs trust is also called a supplemental needs trust because of this intended purpose.
An experienced attorney can help you to create a special needs trust and can also assist you in understanding the rules for how the assets in the trust can be used. You cannot set up the trust to give in kind gifts, which are seen as the equivalent of cash gifts, without risking the loss of benefits. Instead, an attorney can help you provide instructions for a trustee for how the money should be used to provide a richer life for a disabled loved one.
Your special needs planning lawyer will also help you to make a care giving plan, ensure you can pay for it, and name a guardian to act for the person with special needs.
How can a Special Needs Planning Lawyer Provide Assistance?
The Potter Law Firm provides special needs planning assistance to clients in North Carolina and Kentucky. We will help with the creation of a comprehensive plan, so give us a call at (704) 944-3245 ,(606) 324-5516 or (859) 372-6655 today. You can also contact us online to discover more about how our legal team can help you with special needs planning.