Special needs trusts exist to make care easier and more manageable for those with special needs, whether they’re children or elderly persons.
Attorneys play an active and important role in helping those with special needs, and can assist in ensuring that their clients receive all of the benefits and financial assistance to which they are entitled.
Learn more about the role attorneys play with special needs trusts and how they can get involved.
Special Needs Trusts with Plaintiff Attorneys
Medicaid has strict requirements regarding who is eligible for their benefits. Having assets above a certain cut-off limit can disqualify a special needs person from receiving Medicaid benefits, which can hurt or eliminate their chances of receiving the care they need.
One of the ways benefits can be endangered is by the person in question receiving a settlement or judgment. This can put them above the cut-off limit – unless those funds are placed into a special needs trust. By doing this, your client is eligible to continue receiving government benefits from Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Special Needs Trusts with Probate Attorneys and Guardian Ad Litems
A Guardian ad litem has similar responsibilities – helping their clients receive a certain standard of care. If your ward has assets, has received an inheritance, or is receiving money from any other source (such as gifts from friends and family, selling a home, or a legal settlement), these funds could disqualify your ward from benefits.
Setting up a special needs trust can allow a beneficiary to continue receiving benefits while maintaining access to their funds.
Probate attorneys need to be aware of the existence of these special needs trusts when it comes to Conservatorship or Guardianship cases or when administering an estate.
Special Needs Trusts with Elder Law/Estate Planning Attorneys
If your client needs a special needs trust and you are an estate planner or elder law attorney, know that Alabama Family Trust has both first-party and third-party trusts that can be set up in your client’s name. Our pooled trust is often named as the Trustee in order to administer these trusts on behalf of parents or family members of those with special needs.
As a pooled trust, we are the only type of Trustee that can administer a special needs trust for disabled individuals aged 65 or older.
Special Needs Trust with Family Law Attorneys
Family law attorneys need to be aware of unique circumstances that may involve special needs trusts. This includes alimony for ex-spouses who are disabled. Alimony can be placed into a trust so that the spouse continues to receive government benefits.
The same applies to child support. Receipts placed in a trust can allow the child to still be eligible for benefits even if parental income is limited.
How We Help Attorneys
While Alabama Family Trust does not provide legal advice, but we do assist attorneys with what they need in order to work with special needs trusts. This can include appearing in court on your client’s behalf, sharing trust documents, giving attorneys a checklist that contains everything needed to create a trust, and answering any questions that may arise.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us. We will be more than happy to assist.