Maryland Special Needs Trust Attorney
Your special needs child or loved one requires extra consideration when planning your estate, as the assets that you leave them could negatively impact their ability to qualify for certain state-funded financial and medical programs that they currently depend on, or will need to depend on in the future when you are no longer around or when their condition has worsened. A special needs trust accomplishes this goal and allows your loved one to be financially stable after you pass, ensuring that a trustee controls the assets within the trust in your loved one’s best interest. Our experienced Maryland special needs trust attorneys can help you set up a special needs trust. Reach out to us today.
Estate Planning Attorney Helping Clients in Maryland with Special Needs Trusts
There are many different types of trusts that an individual can create when he or she is thinking about estate planning. The key thing to know about trusts is that these legal entities allow a person to make decisions about assets and property while still alive. More simply, a trust can allow a person to name beneficiaries and to ensure that certain family members (or others) have what they need when the trust creator passes away. Given that there are so many different kinds of trusts, however, it can be difficult to know what kind of trust is appropriate for your particular situation.
Specifically, what is a special needs trust, and how can it allow an individual to provide for a loved one with a lifelong disability? A Maryland special needs trust attorney can discuss your situation with you and can help you to develop a trust that meets your and your family’s needs.
What is a Special Needs Trust in Maryland?
A special needs trust is a particular kind of trust that is set up by one person for the benefit of another person who has an incapacitating disability. Whether that individual has a physical, mental, or a developmental disability, a special needs trust can help. In short, the beneficiary of this kind of trust has special needs, and the trust is designed to provide financial resources for that beneficiary. Special needs trusts typically are tailored specifically to the requirements of the beneficiary for whom the trust is created.
A Maryland special needs trusts attorney can explain some of the benefits of such a trust in more detail.
The Basics of a Special Needs Trust
A special needs trust is a trust set up by you that will benefit someone you care about who has a disability. This disability may be a mental disability, developmental, health-related, or physical. The trust is designed specifically for the beneficiary’s needs, and allows them access to the property that you leave behind in a way that helps them the most.
Special Needs Trust for Maintaining Eligibility for SSI Benefits and Medicaid
Social Security Insurance (SSI) benefits are an important resource for millions of disabled Americans, young and old. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), one in five people in the U.S. lives with a disability, one in 20 lives with a severe disability, and among 20-year-olds who are currently receiving disability benefits, 25 percent of them will become disabled before they reach retirement age, meaning that they will have to fully rely on SSI benefits. On average, a recipient is awarded $1,165 per month, which is just at the poverty rate. While this amount of money is low to live on, it is a significant and often vital financial aid for disabled individuals. In order to qualify for SSI benefits, a disabled person must have a disability recognized by the SSA, and they must be incapable of earning a certain amount each month, referred to as substantial gainful activity, which is around $1,100 per month and changes from year to year. Additionally, if an individual has more than $2,000 in any assets, they will become ineligible for SSI benefits, according to the American Bar Association. Medicaid, which is a federally funded healthcare program, allows low-income people to receive high-quality medical services. To qualify, the individual cannot make more than a certain amount per year, currently set at around $16,000 per year. A special needs trust allows your loved one to maintain their eligibility for SSI benefits, as well as Medicaid.
Special Needs Trust for Other Reasons
Disabled loved ones who do not rely on state-funded programs can benefit from a special needs trust too. The trust can help them with the following:
- Medical costs;
- Physical therapy;
- Personal care attendant;
- Educational expenses; and
- Individual products and services needs.
Why Do I Need a Special Needs Trust?
Many beneficiaries of special needs trusts are eligible for government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). As such, it is often important to provide benefits to a special needs individual through a trust instead of through a will so that the beneficiary can remain eligible for these additional forms of assistance. Why would a special needs trust be beneficial in relation to government benefits? In short, if the special needs individual receives assets or property through a will, she or he could have to list that inheritance as income, which could be disqualifying for government benefits like Medicaid and SSI. By providing the same assets and property through a special needs trust, you can ensure that the beneficiary will remain eligible for these government programs.
Even if your disabled child or other family members does not require benefits from government assistance programs, a special needs trust an still be tailored to provide specifically for the unique needs of the beneficiary, addressing financial necessities and needs such as:
- Personal care attendant costs;
- Medical expenses;
- Educational expenses;
- Physical therapy needs;
- Individual product and service needs; and
- Recreational activities.
Although the beneficiary is not currently in need of government benefits, it is important to plan ahead. By setting up a trust with help from an estate planning attorney, you can ensure that your loved one will be provided for in the years to come.
Set Up a Maryland Special Needs Trust Today
A Maryland special needs trust attorney can explain the benefits of a special needs trust in great detail, and help you set one up as soon as you are ready. Reach out to the Maryland law offices of Frame & Frame today.