If there is someone in your life who has a disability, you know how important it is to make sure you do everything possible to protect this vulnerable loved one. As you plan ahead for your future and make financial arrangements, you likely want to ensure that you provide the financial support necessary for your relative or friend with special needs to they can have the highest quality of life possible. Unfortunately, sometimes just making a financial gift can actually do more harm than good. This is because people with disabilities may not have the ability to manage the money, and may lose access to government benefits if they inherit property, money, or other assets.
At Eghrari Law Firm, we work hard to make sure you can provide financial assistance which is truly a gift that enhances your loved one’s quality of life. There are legal tools you can use for special needs planning that allow you to protect assets to benefits and ensure money is managed for the best interests of the recipient. For more than a decade, our special needs planning lawyers have helped clients in Long Island to get the help they need. Give us a call today to learn how we can assist you and to get answers to questions including:
- Why is special needs planning important?
- What is involved in special needs planning?
- How can a Long Island, NY special needs planning lawyer help you?
Why is Special Needs Planning Important?
Special needs planning is important for two primary reasons: to make sure money or property that you give provides a desired benefit and to make sure that access to means-tested government programs is not lost.
Someone who has a disability may be receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and may have insurance coverage though the government-sponsored Medicaid program. Both SSI and Medicaid are intended to cover people with limited or no income and with limited assets. A substantial financial inheritance can put a person over the asset limit – causing a loss in access to benefits programs.
The money from the inheritance would have to be spent replacing the lost government benefits if this occurred, instead of improving the gift recipient’s quality of life. With special needs planning, you can make sure this does not happen so the cash or property that you leave to your loved one with a disability is able to provide for extras.
Many people who have special needs are also unable to handle the complexities associated with managing money and property. With special needs planning, you can name a trusted fiduciary to manage the money in the best interests of your friend or relative.
What is Involved in Special Needs Planning?
Special needs planning typically involves the creation of a specific type of trust designed to allow for gifts to be made to the individual who needs your assistance. Because it is the trust that owns the property and the assets and not the person, there is no transfer of assets that triggers a loss of government benefits. When you create the trust, you also name a trustee who will oversee how the funds are managed and spend. The trustee has an obligation to use trust assets according to your wishes and always with the aim of providing the maximum in benefits to the person with a disability
Creating the trust can be complicated as you must make sure you follow all legal guidelines and steps that are necessary for the creation of a valid special needs trust. You also must transfer property and assets into the trust once it has been created and you must determine who will act as the trustee to oversee the wonderful gift that you are leaving behind.
Eghrari Law Firm understands the rules that are associated with the creation of a valid special needs trust and can guide you through every step of the process, including the transfer of money and property.
How Can a Long Island Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help You?
Having a child or other relative with special needs means that your estate planning may be more complicated than planning is for most people, as you need to make sure your loved one is financially and physically cared for after you are gone.
Our experienced Long island special needs planning lawyers will go beyond just helping you to create a special needs trust. We’ll help you to take advantage of all of the legal tools available to ensure that you can provide a safe, stable, and comfortable life for the person you care about who has a disability. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation and learn more about the assistance we offer.