elderplanning

Elder and Special Needs Law focuses on assisting seniors, people with special needs, and their families in meeting their needs, including long term care. Planning includes understanding the issues faced by people who may need assistance. That assistance may come from government programs including Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and VA Pensions and Aid and Attendance. Related support services include helping families establish legal agents to assist those with incapacity and finding financial resources and social support to enhance life options. In addition, parents, spouses, and children of people needing assistance should make plans that allow those with special needs or receiving long term care support to continue existing government benefits without being disqualified upon receiving an inheritance or lump sum benefit. Thus Elder and Special Needs Law is a holistic practice that works with other professionals to assist those needing help to live the best life possible.

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We suggest you consider including special needs planning language in your revocable living trust just in case a loved one such as a child, grandchild, or parent, at some point, qualifies for governmental benefits because of a special need. If assets flow to a beneficiary who qualifies for benefits, he will be disqualified until all of your money has been spent down, wasting your gift.

When you include special needs planning in your trust, you instruct the trustee to distribute assets that will supplement, as opposed to supplant, government benefits. That being said, there may come a time when it’s in your beneficiary’s best interests to go ahead and use trust assets even if disqualification occurs. You can give the trustee that power to make good decisions at the time.

So long as your beneficiary doesn’t have “demand rights,” the right to demand that the trustee distribute assets, he can receive Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in addition to trust benefits such as trips, special events, and excellent care.

When a special need has already been identified, we sometimes create a free standing special needs trust. We’ll help you identify what kind of special needs planning works best for your family.

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