Special needs planning is estate and financial planning to protect a beneficiary with needs while preserving public assistance programs. At Insight we work closely with our clients in determining the best solution in handling their family needs to plan for a loved one needing special care.
Special needs trusts (also sometimes referred to as “supplemental needs” trusts) allow a disabled beneficiary to receive gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds and still be eligible for certain government programs. Special needs trusts are drafted so the funds are not an “available resource” in determining eligibility for public benefits. As their name implies, special or supplemental needs trusts are not designed to provide basic support, but instead to pay for comforts and “luxuries” that are not available from public assistance. These trusts typically pay for things like education, recreation, counseling, and medical attention beyond the simple necessities of life.
Most often, special needs trusts are created by a parent or other family member for the benefit of a disabled loved one, whether that person is a minor or adult. Such trusts also may be set up in a will or living trust as a way for an individual to leave assets to a disabled relative. Sometimes, the disabled individual can create the trust himself, depending on the program for which he or she seeks benefits.
Special needs trusts generally fall into two categories—first party (or self-settled) trusts and third party trusts. Within each of these categories are subcategories of trusts. At Insight we will work with you and your family, weigh your options and create a plan for your loved one.