Special Needs Planning Attorney Based in Madison
Personalized Legal Services & Representation
Our legal team at Krause Estate Planning & Elder Law Center knows that providing adequate care and support for a loved one with special needs encompasses a wide range of arrangements to assist with day-to-day activities and managing finances. The talented elder law professionals at our firm proudly assist families across Madison who need guidance planning for the ongoing future support for a loved one with a disability.
We can help you explore important questions and considerations, such as:
- Will your loved one be able to work?
- Will he/she require full-time care?
- Where will he/she live?
- What type of social life will he/she have?
Whether your planning strategy involves special needs trust, other legal documents, or even court proceedings, we provide top-notch legal representation and service that clients need to ensure the wellbeing of individuals with disabilities.
Special Needs Planning Trusts
With a properly drafted and funded special needs trust or supplemental needs trust, you can make sure the special needs individual in your life has enough to cover a variety of life-enhancing expenditures without jeopardizing their eligibility for certain government benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, or Veteran’s Administration benefits.
Some expenses that can be covered by a special needs trust include:
- Medical and dental care
- Supplemental education and tutoring costs
- Special dietary needs
- Personal care attendant costs
- Goods and services that contribute to quality of life, such as electronics, furniture, videos, etc.
- Entertainment expenses, such as movies, shows, games, etc.
- Vacations and trips
- Vehicle maintenance costs
- Hobbies or recreational activities
If a special needs trust is created by someone other than the disabled person and the disabled person does not have the legal right to demand trust assets, then the trust isn’t considered a “countable resource” when they apply for government benefits. This means the beneficiary of the special needs trust can continue to receive public benefits. Trust assets will also be available if the beneficiary no longer qualifies for governmental assistance or if that assistance is discontinued in the future.
FAQ: Special Needs Planning
Question #1: When should I establish a special needs trust?
A: In general, you should establish a special needs trust before the beneficiary’s 65th birthday. If you have a disabled or chronically ill beneficiary, then you should consider establishing the trust at an earlier age.
Question #2: Who can establish a special needs trust?
A: Anyone can set up a third-party special needs trust for the benefit of another person. Third-party special needs trusts are generally established by parents for their disabled children or the family of seniors.
Question #3: Who should be in charge of the Trust?
A: Usually a family member and a professional trustee make the best arrangement for administering the assets in the trust. Since the disabled individual can’t serve as trustee, it’s crucial that the professional trustee is sensitive to the needs of the beneficiary and knowledgeable about eligibility requirements for government benefits. It is not advisable to have a family member as the sole administrator of the trust because they generally don't have the expertise to manage the funds without rendering the beneficiary ineligible to receive public benefits.
Question #4: What can the funds in a special needs trust pay for?
A: Funds that are put into a special needs trust can be used to cover physical therapy, medications, medical treatment, and transportation. Special needs trust can also be used to cover other life-enhancing items, such as education, entertainment, vacations, companionship, furniture and furnishings, and certain utilities.
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