If you or someone you love has a disability or special needs, there’s a part of estate planning just for you. In many cases, special needs trusts must be established to ensure that the beneficiary is protected. One of the biggest benefits of establishing a special needs trust is the ability to provide a person with disabilities income while still protecting their eligibility for government assistance programs. When a special needs trust is established, the beneficiary can still receive Medicaid and other assistance from government organizations.

A special needs trust is a special type of trust that comes in multiple forms. In any case, it helps to speak with a special needs lawyer who can help explain your rights and options. At The Law Office of Nicole Israel, PLLC, we know how vital a special needs trust is to plan for someone with a disability. We’ll walk you through the entire process and ensure that your loved one is set for the future.

How to Set Up a Special Needs Trust
The first step in creating a special needs trust is determining what kind you need. Because there’s more than one kind based on who funds the trust, it may be necessary to speak with a lawyer before moving forward. You should also understand the goals for your special needs planning. Setting up a special needs trust means determining what can and can’t be paid with the finances in the trust.

Speak with a lawyer to determine the most effective ways to create a special needs trust in a legal way. Here are some of the requirements you should know about when setting up a special needs trust:

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The trustee must be able to have full control over asset distributions.

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The beneficiary may not amend or revoke the trust.

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The beneficiary or someone acting on behalf of the beneficiary cannot make demands for distributions.

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The trustee cannot give cash to the beneficiary.

The above requirements are designed to ensure the beneficiary maintains his or her access to government assistance.

What Are the Different Special Needs Trusts?

There are three different types of special needs trusts, including a first-party special needs trust, a third-party special needs trust, and a pooled special needs trust. There are significant differences between these special needs trusts, each changing how they are managed. Here are some of the important details of each type of special needs trust.
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First-party special needs trust

A first party SNT receives its funds from the beneficiary. In this situation the beneficiary may have funds from a personal injury settlement, inheritance, or other monies. The beneficiary puts their own money in the trust to be used as necessary, and it still protects their government assistance.
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Third-party special needs trust

A third party SNT receives its funds from someone other than the beneficiary, such as the parents, relatives, or friends. For instance, if a parent leaves their disabled child an inheritance, they can put it into a third-party special needs trust to be used as indicated.
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Pooled special needs trust

A pooled SNT receives its funds from assets owned by the beneficiary. However, a pooled special needs trust is managed by non-profit organizations, and is typically a great option when no parents, grandparents, or guardians are living.
When establishing a special needs trust, make sure you recognize the various designations, tax ramifications, distributions, and more. Of course, a special needs trust is designed to safeguard the beneficiary’s benefits, so you want to be sure none of the distributions threaten SSI benefits or Medicaid.

Get an Attorney for Special Needs Trusts

You need to ensure that your estate planning is done with the beneficiary’s best interests in mind. When the beneficiary has special needs or a disability, protecting the benefits they receive is of the utmost importance. In order to ensure everything is accurate and in line, it helps to work with a special needs planning attorney who can provide you with vital information and knowledge to move forward effectively. The Law Office of Nicole Israel, PLLC is here for you.

You have specific goals when going through estate planning. It’s vital to partner with an advisor who understands those goals and works to maintain them throughout the partner. Our team looks into your needs, providing the most effective option for you. When your future and rights are at stake, you can count on our team to be your trusted partners. We’ll be there for you every step of the way, ensuring that you have the information you need to make smart decisions for you, your family, and your assets. When you leave our office, you will feel empowered and prepared to create a legal plan that protects your family in challenging situations.

Call us today and speak with a member of our team about your rights and options.