Knowledgeable Florida Special Needs Trust Lawyer On Your Side
Perhaps you have an adult child—or another loved one—with special needs. While you certainly hope you will be here for a long time to come, providing care and love, life sometimes takes us in unexpected directions. If you were to leave an inheritance for a loved one with special needs, that person could lose crucial government benefits. You can ensure your loved one will be taken care of by implementing Special Needs Planning which can designate resources for his or her lifetime while remaining eligible for necessary government benefits.
There are a number of steps you can take to safeguard your loved one’s future and I can help you choose the right options for your specific situation. At my law firm, Groover Law, I understand the sensitive nature of Special Needs Planning and will work closely with both parents and caregivers to develop a comprehensive plan for those requiring lifetime care. I want to be your Special Needs Trust Lawyer in Orlando—and I have the experience, skills, knowledge, and reputation to back that up.
What is a Florida Special Needs Trust?
It is important to understand what a Florida Special Needs Trust is, and what it entails. This type of trust is sometimes known as a Supplemental Needs Trust. By either name, this type of trust allows a disabled beneficiary to remain eligible for certain government programs, while still being able to receive gifts from family members or others, settlements from a lawsuit, or other types of funds. The goal of a Special Needs Trust is to ensure funds are not considered available resources when determining public benefits eligibility. A Special Needs Trust can provide “comforts” above and beyond what public assistance would provide. These “comforts” could include such things as education, additional medical attention, recreation, or counseling.
Are There Different Types of Special Needs Trusts?
Parents or other family members are those who generally have a Special Needs Trust created for a loved one with a disability, whether that loved one is a minor or adult. There is more than one type of Special Needs Trust, although they generally fall into two categories—first party (self-settled) or third-party. A First Party Trust is established with money belonging to the trust beneficiary—perhaps from a medical malpractice lawsuit, a gift, or an inheritance from a grandparent. A Third-Party Trust is created with assets belonging to someone other than the beneficiary—usually a parent, grandparent, or sibling, and can be a Stand-By Trust, or a Stand- Alone Trust. There is no Medicaid payback requirement in Third-Party Trusts, with remaining trust assets going to family members or charities named by the original Trustmaker.
Possibly the one benefit to a Stand-Alone Trust over a Stand-By Trust is that if the laws should change, the Stand-Alone Trust would remain in effect, while with a Stand-By Trust, there is no assurance the viability of the Trust would not change according to a change in the law. The other potential drawback to a Stand-By Trust is the delay associated with probate when the Stand-By Trust is created through a Last Will and Testament.
There is one major disadvantage to a First Party Special Needs Trust—a mandatory payback provision requiring the trust to reimburse the government for any benefits provided by Medicaid. Trust assets in a Self-Settled or First Party Trust must be used for the sole benefit of the beneficiary, and upon the death of the beneficiary, remaining assets may be distributed to surviving family members.
Other types of Special Needs Trusts include a Qualified Income Trust and a Pooled Trust. A Qualified Income Trust ((d)(4)(B) Trust) may also be referred to as a Miller Trust and can be used when the applicant for a Medicaid nursing home program is over the income limitation. Any excess income can be placed in the trust, allowing the individual to remain eligible for needed benefits. A Qualified Income Trust can be set up by the beneficiary, the spouse of the beneficiary, another individual who has power of attorney for the beneficiary, or by court order.
A Pooled Trust is managed by a non-profit organization after pooling the resources of many disabled beneficiaries. Pooled Trusts, while technically “payback” trusts, do not require Medicaid to be repaid upon the death of the beneficiary, so long as the funds remain in play for the other beneficiaries.
Getting the Help You Need for a Special Needs Trust from Groover Law
If you are considering a Special Needs Trust, having a solid trust administration lawyer like myself can help you ensure it is done correctly, providing the benefits you want it to provide for a loved one with special needs. I will work closely with you to develop a well-thought-out-plan for your loved one. I will then outline the necessary steps for creating the Trust of your choice, draft the documents, then assist you in transferring or aligning assets into the Trust. At Groover Law, I believe strongly in a client-centered, long-term relationship and will do everything in my power to ensure your Trust is perfect for your unique situation.