Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Alliance Brochure (pdf)
What Happens When I Turn 18? (pdf)
Special Needs Trusts for Litigation Proceeds (pdf)
Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a need-based income program for the aged, blind and disabled who have limited income and assets.Age 65 is the minimum for the age category, although the blind or disabled can be any age. The federal portion of the benefit is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and some states offer a supplemental amount that may be administered by either the SSA or a state agency. Many states also give Medicaid eligibility automatically to those who are SSI eligible. DOWNLOAD »
Checklist for Special Needs Settlement Planning (pdf)
Striking a Balance with Structured Settlements
Since 1982, structured settlements, also known as annuities, have been available to provide funding for the settlement of personal injury claims. Structures can be a partial alternative to a lump-sum cash payment. They provide a stream of income on a periodic basis, typically monthly. There is a 100% exemption from federal income tax on the structure payments. DOWNLOAD »
SSI Eligibility and Special Needs Trusts
Special or supplemental needs trusts (SNT) preserve assets from litigation recovery, support funds provided by family, or probate proceeds for the disabled, incompetent, or minor individual. A properly drafted SNT will allow the recipient to continue to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits. As the basic eligibility requirements for both SSI and Medicaid are similar by state, special needs trusts can usually be written to conform with both programs in any state. DOWNLOAD »
Selecting the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust
Sometimes, it is advisable to have an independent, non-family member serve as the sole trustee or, at a minimum, as a co-trustee. An independent trustee can be objective, and usually, has knowledge, such as investment expertise and a public benefits background, which family members lack. Requiring the trust to have an independent trustee also prevents a family trustee from being caught in an endless series of conflicts of interest. DOWNLOAD »
Buying a Home for a Person with Disabilities (pdf)Estate Planning for Parents of Children With Special Needs
For parents of a child with special needs, the use of a special needs trust is the most effective way to help that child. A special needs trust is developed to manage resources for the benefit of the special needs child while maintaining the child’s eligibility for public assistance benefits. While government agencies recognize special needs trusts, they have imposed some stringent rules and requirements upon the implementation and use of these trusts.
When is an Irrevocable Special Needs Trust Revocable? (pdf)
Administering a Special Needs Trust – A Handbook for Trustees
The essential purpose of a special needs trust is usually to improve the quality of an individual’s life without disqualifying him or her from eligibility to receive public benefits. Obviously, one of the central duties of the trustee of a special needs trust is to understand what public benefits programs might be available to the beneficiary and how receipt of income, or provision of food or shelter, might affect eligibility. Because there are numerous programs, competing (and sometimes even conflicting) eligibility rules, and at least two different types of special needs trusts to contend with, the entire area is fraught with opportunities to make mistakes. Because the stakes are often so high – the public benefits programs may well be providing all the necessities of life to the beneficiary – a good understanding of the rules and programs is critically important. DOWNLOAD »
Special Needs Planning – It is more than drafting a Trust
This Article is a summary of the body of knowledge that a Special Needs Planner will utilize in developing a comprehensive plan for a person with a disability and his or her family. Special Needs Planning is more than drafting a Special Needs Trust (SNT). While a SNT is important tool, it is not a Special Needs Plan. A Special Needs Plan is a
comprehensive, customized legal and financial plan to address the unique and individual needs of a person with a disability and his or her family. DOWNLOAD »
Using Public Benefits to Pay for Matrimonial Settlements
If you have matrimonial cases in which one spouse is disabled and eligible for means-tested public benefits, it is important to understand how Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts can allow for public benefits to be employed in the matrimonial settlement. MORE »
Using Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts to Protect Public Benefits
Many public benefits available to persons with disabilities, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, place limits on income and certain types of assets. Exceeding such limits can lead individuals to lose some or all of their benefits. Therefore, individuals receiving benefits that set these kinds of limits must continually monitor their income and ensure that their “countable” assets never exceed $2,000. MORE »
Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs
Parents must plan their estates carefully when they wish to provide for a special needs child. The plan may greatly affect the quality of the child’s life. Many people believe that they have so few assets that an estate plan is not necessary. This is an error. We often have many more assets than we realize. MORE »
Third Party Special Needs Trust
The purpose of this brochure is to give you an idea of some topics you will be thinking about as you make some important decisions. Fortunately, persons with special needs are living much longer than they used to. Unfortunately, they are outliving their parents and provision must be made for their future. MORE »