Protect Your Child With Disabilities by Creating a Special Needs Trust in Virginia
When your child with disabilities turns 18, he or she may become eligible for Federal benefits for the first time. Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicaid can open new doors for your child with special needs. However, your family must now be especially careful when structuring an estate and legal plan, as one wrong financial move can cause these benefits to be lost…
Avoid the Biggest Mistake First
Many parents want to give their child with special needs money to take care of themselves, or conversely, give money to a sibling or other family member with a promise to take care of the child. Both of these can cause serious problems and should be avoided.
Giving money to a family member for your child’s care can create an enormous amount of stress for your family member as they must now balance the needs of his or her own family with the needs of the child. Giving money directly to your child with special needs will most likely cause your child to go over the $2000 asset limit for SSI and Medicaid, causing them to lose those needed benefits.
There Are Better Options: Consider a Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust in Virginia enables your child to continue receiving SSI and/or Medicaid benefits, because the assets are never “owned” by your child. The trust continues to own the asset and a Trustee manages the assets. The Trustee should be someone you trust and someone who understands your child and his or her needs.
A Special Needs Trust in Virginia generally covers those needs that are not funded by SSI and/or Medicaid. Usually, the money distributed cannot be used for food, or shelter, both of which are typically covered by government assistance programs.
A Special Needs Trust can be set up as part of your Will or living trust, however I frequently suggest that a family consider having me draft a stand-alone Special Needs Trust. These trusts are a separate component of an estate plan which can provide more protection for your child and can allow other family members to contribute to the trust before your death.
Special Needs Trusts should be set up by an experienced Special Needs Planning Attorney. If we can help you get started, simply call us at 571-328-5795 to schedule an appointment.