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Encino Special Needs Trusts Attorney

Call Tisser Law Group, APC at (818) 528-5553

If you have a loved one with special needs, you may be worried about how you will provide for them after you pass away. You may also have questions about how inherited assets will impact any public benefits they may be receiving.

Certain public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and MediCal, are needs-based benefits that can be lost if an individual inherits assets. Our Encino special needs planning lawyers at Tisser Law Group, APC are here to provide you with the guidance you need.

We can help you set up a special needs trust. Give us a call today at (818) 528-5553 to consult with a member of our legal team.

Understanding Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is established to hold assets for a disabled beneficiary without having the beneficiary lose government benefits. Special needs beneficiaries can then preserve their benefits from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and MediCal (California’s version of Medicaid).

An SNT will have a third person such as a family member or a friend be the trustee and control distributions to your beneficiary. In general, the SNT will provide that no distributions are to be made if they will disqualify the beneficiary from SSI or Medi-Cal

What is SSI & MediCal?

SSI provides monthly cash benefits to persons who are disabled, blind or aged 65 years or older. MediCal provides for various types of medical treatment and is the only government program that pays for long-term nursing home care.

Both of these programs are need-based and available only to those with minimal financial resources. Disabled persons eligible for SSI are always eligible for Medi-Cal. Persons who are not eligible for SSI may be eligible for MediCal if they are deemed “medically needy”.

Both SSI and MediCal require the person receiving benefits have to minimal financial resources. Therefor, it is important that you do not leave an inheritance directly to a person who is eligible for either of these programs. If you do, you may disqualify that person from the benefits.

Why Establish a Special Needs Trust?

You may think the inheritance you leave your beneficiary will generate enough income that they will no longer need the benefits of SSI and Medi-Cal. This, however, should be given a lot of consideration.

The amount of money you place in trust for your beneficiary today may not be enough to cover all of the beneficiary’s needs in the future. Additionally, because Medi-Cal provides for medical treatment, if your beneficiary does not qualify for insurance, you may want to preserve their coverage under Medi-Cal.

What Can a Special Needs Trust Pay for Without Affecting SSI & Medi-Cal Benefits?

Money held in a special needs trust can help a beneficiary preserve their existing SSI and Medi-Cal benefits. However, that trust must distribute money properly to ensure that such benefits remain in place.

A properly drafted special needs trust for an SSI beneficiary will never directly give the beneficiary cash or cash equivalent. Using trust funds to pay for food or shelter can also reduce a beneficiary's benefits, though a discussion with a special needs planner can determine if such payments would be worth the reduction.

Special needs trusts can instead pay for whatever the beneficiary needs to supplement their lifestyle.

This can include:

  • Therapy
  • Special equipment, such as wheelchairs
  • Companion services
  • Travel, including extra costs for traveling with a companion
  • Bus or rail passes, or a ride share membership
  • Electronic devices

Why Hire Tisser Law Group, APC?

Do you feel that a special needs trust is necessary as part of your estate plan either for you or a loved one? We understand that government benefits are necessary and you don't want to do anything to cause your loved one to lose those benefits.

Creating a special needs plan can be quite complex and our Encino special needs trust lawyer is here to help. With over 40 years of combined experience, our seasoned and knowledgeable legal team can help address all of your concerns.

Contact Tisser Law Group, APC today to schedule a consultation.

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