Special Needs Planning

Avoiding the Eligibility Trap

Special Needs Trusts for Children and Adults with Disabilities

To qualify for Medicaid and Supplementary Security Income, the government requires a person to have no more than $2,000 in assets. An outright inheritance could disqualify your family member for long-term care, medical services and other benefits. But excluding your loved one from the will to preserve program eligibility is no solution.

A special needs trust solves this dilemma, but the trust must be carefully constructed by a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. If set up improperly, the federal government can either declare your loved one ineligible for Medicaid/SSI or demand to be paid back from your estate.

If a child has mental or developmental disabilities, or if an elderly person is receiving government benefits because of a physical or mental impairment, contact The Livens Law Firm to discuss special needs planning. Our Bedford, Texas, estate planning practice extends a free consultation to families the DFW Metroplex and throughout the state.

The Special Needs Trust

A third-party special needs trust enables you to set money aside on behalf of an adult or child with special needs. Trust funds may only be used for supplemental needs (travel, luxury items and extras) above and beyond what government or private agencies provide. An appointed trustee makes the distributions — the person with special needs cannot have "checking account" privileges, nor can any other family member access or benefit from the trust. The trust can be established while you are alive or upon your death.

A self-settled special needs trust preserves the assets of a person with a disability. The assets may include any proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit. This kind of trust also prevents Medicaid or creditor liens against the money.

Attorney Stephen Livens has practiced in estate planning for over 20 years. He is adept at establishing special needs trusts that comply with Texas and federal law, as well as Medicaid/SSI regulations.

Call (800) 569-2663 or e-mail us to arrange a free initial consultation at your convenience.