With a disabled sibling, Chuck can relate to other parents who naturally want to do the right thing for their physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled dependent.
When you contact the Roulet Law Firm, you'll find out that the child, sibling, parent, spouse, or a loved one in question may be entitled to valuable government benefits, such as Social Security or Medicaid, either now or in the future. However, most of these benefits are available only to those of very limited means.
As a result, you may find yourself at a crossroads. You could leave a substantial inheritance to this person, but he or she will be disqualified from receiving government benefits that could be crucial to the care they need. On the other hand, you may not want to have to disinherit him or her in order to preserve these benefits.
Fortunately, a special needs trust will keep you from having to make this wrenching decision. We can help you prepare a personalized plan that protects your loved one.
Addressing Your "Special Needs" Needs
The specific purpose of a special needs trust is to supplement government benefits. This means that a special needs trust must only provide benefits above and beyond what the beneficiary or disabled person receives from any government or private agency.
The trust should not duplicate any government-provided services. Nor should the beneficiary have any resemblance of ownership of the trust assets. Otherwise, the government could attempt to seize the trust assets for repayment of services rendered or decide that the beneficiary doesn't qualify for future benefits.
To accomplish this, you should give the trustee complete control over the distribution of assets and any income they generate. The beneficiary cannot be able to demand any principal or interest from the trust.
Please give very careful consideration to your choice for trustee. Of course, you or your family will continue to provide for this person while you are alive and able to do so. However, someone else should be prepared to assume this responsibility following your death or incapacity.
Trust Your Trustee
The most obvious choice is another family member who also cares deeply about this person. Be on guard against possible conflicts of interest, especially if he or she is in line to inherit the trust assets after your disabled dependent dies. The relative may be more interested in preserving trust assets than providing for your beneficiary. Further, family members often have their own lives to run and will not have the time or expertise to properly manage the special needs trust.
Consider using or adding a corporate trustee, a bank or trust company that has specialized in managing trusts. They can be impartial and durable. They will be around for as long as your beneficiary lives.
Finally, be sure to work closely with an attorney who has considerable experience with these trusts. Our more than 15 years of service to special needs families has made us very familiar with the legal mechanics and human factors featured in this area of estate planning.
Guardianships & Conservatorships
Guardianships and conservatorships are another way to help people with disabilities. A general guardianship and/or conservatorship places someone in charge of the person and/or financial affairs of a person with a disability. A limited conservatorship promotes independence on the part of the person with special needs, while giving a conservator limited powers over the areas where the disabled person needs assistance. Our team can help you with guardianship and conservatorship proceedings.
Schedule Your No Obligation Initial Consultation
We identify with the unique legal and personal situations of special needs families. We think those same families will be able to identify with and learn from our astute estate planning advice. Contact the Roulet Law Firm in Minnetonka today.
We're available by phone, fax, and e-mail. We also have some weeknight or Saturday appointments too. We look forward to meeting and working with you.