Providing for the ones you love is an important privilege for those who have the means to do so, but this is often more complicated than just writing a check and being done with it. If you have a loved one who depends on government assistance to afford living with a disability, then you might inadvertently disqualify that person from the crucial government assistance by carelessly leaving them too much money at one time. Fortunately, there are options. By employing a special needs trust, you can provide for the one you love without disqualifying them from government assistance.
A special needs trust is a very specific kind of trust that allows the transfer of assets from one individual to another without increasing the beneficiary's overall legal income. Government assistance, such as Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid or even subsidized housing is granted based on a person's income and legal assets. A special needs trust creates a legal way for you to make a generous gift to such an individual without creating a larger problem for him or her in the long term.
It is important that the trust does not simply pay out monetary benefits to your beneficiary. If set up this way, it may be seen as income by the agencies providing assistance. Instead, such a trust should be set up so that the trustee of the trust acquires things on behalf of the one you love. These might be any number of things, from medical care that is uncovered by standard assistance, to transportation (including buying a vehicle), to entertainment, and more. It is a bit of a tight line to walk but can make all the difference for the one you love when executed correctly.
If you believe that a special needs trust may be right for you and your circumstances, do not hesitate to get the help you need to create the right document for your needs. An experienced attorney can help you discern exactly how to craft a special needs trust that addresses all your loved one's needs while protecting the rights and interests of all parties.