As the caregiver of someone with special needs, you’re called upon to make important decisions on a daily basis. Those decisions may be life-changing for you and for your loved one. Often, therapists, medical specialists, and other advisers help plan the best care for individuals who require extra care. It’s also important to talk to an attorney who understands the needs of disabled individuals. It may be time to establish a special needs trust to provide funds for immediate and long-term care.

Is a Special Needs Trust Different from Regular Trusts?

A trust generally involves three parties:

  • the trustor who signs a trust document to create the trust;
  • the trustee who manages the trust assets and distributions to beneficiaries; and
  • the beneficiary who receives distributions from the trust.

In some trusts, one person may serve all three roles. However, a special needs trust is for a beneficiary with conditions that require a high level of care. The trust, then, may be structured to allow the beneficiary to be eligible for public benefits, like Medicaid.

Who Can Benefit from a Special Needs Trust?

Special needs trusts may provide significant assistance for the following types of beneficiaries:

  • People under age 65 who may need government benefits like Medicaid or SSI in the future.
  • Individuals who suffer from one or more conditions that limit independence or require long-term or substantial treatment.
  • Someone who will need assistance when you are no longer able to assist.

What Can We Pay with a Special Needs Trust?

Trustee of special needs trusts must spend trust funds for the benefit of the beneficiary. Trustees should know what state and federal law allow. Consulting an attorney is a good way to get started. In fact, the attorney who drew up the trust or who is representing the trust, may be able to give you more information the trust. Trust documents provide guidance to trustees, as well as the attorney representing the trust.

How Will I Know if I Need a Special Needs Trust?

Keep the following things in mind:

  • A special needs trust may provide additional financial security to you and your loved one.
  • Anyone drafting a special needs trust needs to understand the needs of the disabled person.
  • Special needs trust can negatively affect eligibility for programs like Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid if not properly written.

Have Questions? We Can Help.

Schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at Miller Estate and Elder Law Our attorneys know how to help people like you. Just give us a call at 256-251-2137 or use our Contact Form to set up an appointment. Serving clients in the greater Anniston area, including Birmingham, Talladega, and Gadsden.