SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS IN MISSOURI: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you or someone you know is caring for a child with special needs, then you are likely already aware of the considerable amount of time, energy and money that is required. Although most families don’t wish to focus on the cost involved with caring for a special needs child, it is important to address.
Depending on the diagnosis, caring for a special needs child often doesn’t end at adulthood. It is likely that your special needs child will need support throughout their lifetime, and you may not always be able to oversee their care.
In Missouri, a Special Needs Trust or Supplemental Needs Trust may be the right solution for your family and situation.
Special needs children can often rely on support and assistance from federal programs, such as Social Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. These programs have income and resource limits that must be carefully considered, or you could jeopardize eligibility for federal assistance.
A special needs trust may best fit your needs, as simply gifting direct assets in your estate plan can over-fun your child’s estate.
A special needs trust lawyer Lake St. Louis, Missouri works similar to any other trust in that you must appoint a beneficiary (your child) and fund the trust with designated assets. The assets are then use for “supplemental and extra care over and above what the government provides.” Essentially, the government programs first cover basic costs of care while the trust assets cover any remaining costs.
To qualify as a Special Needs Trust there are very specific guidelines. If the trust doesn’t meet the legal definition it can result in your child to lose the assistance from federal programs that they rely on. For example, the trust must be irrevocable and specific language is required in the creation of the trust to qualify.
In addition, there are different kinds of special needs trust and working with your estate planning attorney can help ensure that your needs are met.
TYPES OF SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS
A self-settled special needs trust is commonly used if a special needs person were to receive a large lawsuit judgment or a similar situation where the money would cause the special needs person to be ineligible for federal assistance.
A special needs pooled trusts most commonly used when the assets of the special needs trust are insufficient to cover major expenses, including trustee’s fees. This trust is when the assets of several special needs people are pooled in the trust and then managed by an independent trustee. Each special needs child’s share of the pool can be used to provide assistance over and beyond the government assistance.
If you think creating a special needs trust could benefit you or someone you know, it is important to contact an estate planning attorney to ensure your needs are properly met and the documents are correctly drafted. Keep in mind that not all estate planning attorneys handle special needs trusts so you’ll want to research this before deciding on an attorney to consult with.
Legacy Law Center regularly creates special needs trusts for clients.
Contact Legacy Law Center today to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION to discuss whether a special needs trust makes sense for you. Our office can be reached at (636) 887-5297.