Special needs trusts: a few thoughts, material considerations

There is a lot for parents and other primary caregivers to think about when it comes to ensuring that a child with long-term care needs owing to a disability is adequately provided for over his or her lifetime.

As noted in a recent Wall Street Journal article discussing the singular estate planning area of special needs trusts, providers for children and adults with supplemental needs “need to understand their options.”

That counsel is strongly merited, for several reasons.

Here’s one: The needs of a person requiring long-term financial assistance from loving family members will likely not remain static over time; things change, and careful planning must be attended to that considers changed circumstances and provides for them.

And here’s another: Legal rules and processes regarding funds provided for special needs purposes are complex and evolving. Adjustments in this area can adversely affect the outcome for a special needs child or adult who is the beneficiary of planning that is shortsighted and insufficiently comprehensive.

A point that is crucial to note in the context of estate planning and special needs is that state and federal programs that provide assistance to eligible applicants operate pursuant to imposed income restrictions. If a person’s assets and income level exceed a certain threshold, benefits are curtailed.

As we point out on a relevant page of our estate administration website at the Newman Law Group in Orange County, “the consequences of a poorly designed plan can include the loss of essential benefits, and subsequently, the loss of access to desired levels of care.”

Carefully considered estate planning addresses that possibility and takes purposeful steps to avoid it. A proven attorney with a deep well of experience representing clients in this important and complex area of law can answer questions and provide timely and focused legal representation aimed at securing best outcomes in every case.

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