Avoiding the Eligibility Trap
Special Needs Trusts for a Disabled Child or Incapacitated Person
To qualify for Medicaid and SSI, the government requires a person to be nearly impoverished — 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 cutting that person out of the will to preserve program eligibility is no solution.
A special needs trust solves this dilemma, but it 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 when you die.
If a child has mental or developmental disabilities or 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 in Dallas County and Tarrant County, the DFW Metroplex and statewide.
The Special Needs Trust
A third party special needs trust enables you to set money aside on behalf of a disabled child or elderly person. 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 disabled person 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 disabled person's own assets, such as proceeds of a personal injury lawsuit. This 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, and Medicaid/SSI regulations.
Call (800) 569-2663 or e-mail us to arrange a free initial consultation at your convenience.