People with disabilities often have special needs which should be addressed. If you are a parent, a friend, or a relative of someone with disabilities, you may wish to give a financial gift or make provisions for a friend or relative’s care. If an accident has happened and left someone with disabilities, friends and families may also need to provide assistance in ensuring a personal injury settlement is appropriately managed and spent.
Providing for a person with disabilities, giving the person a gift, or facilitating the management of money from a personal injury claim is not as simple as it seems. This, in part, is because many people with disabilities rely on some type of means-tested government benefits. You want to make sure you take the unique needs of your loved ones with disabilities into account as you make a plan for money or property they are about to receive. Gersh Law Offices, P.S.C. can help. Give our Louisville special needs planning lawyers a call today for personalized advice and to get important information on issues including:
- Why is special needs planning important?
- What is involved in special needs planning?
- How can a Louisville special needs planning lawyer help?
Why is Special Needs Planning Important?
Many people with disabilities rely on Medicaid in order to cover the costs of their medical treatment. It is also common for people with disabilities to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in situations where the disabling condition makes work impossible. Other additional benefits may be available as well, including housing and food subsidies. All of these benefits are means-tested and consider whether an applicant or recipient has monthly income or has assets in the bank.
Providing a gift to a person with special needs who is receiving any means-tested benefits could result in the value of the gift pushing the recipient above the allowable limit in terms of assets. This could mean loss of access to important government benefits. This could leave the recipient in a worse financial position and could mean the gift is wasted on just providing medical care or covering basic costs, rather than being used to enrich quality of life. The same thing can occur if a person who has been disabled in an accident receives a substantial sum of money in an injury settlement.
By structuring a gift appropriately, the loss of access to benefits can be avoided. It may also be necessary to ensure that a person with disabilities who is not able to manage money is not left with property or investments which he or she cannot handle. By creating a trust and naming a trustee to oversee the management of money and property, you can ensure the gift or the injury settlement is carefully managed and appropriately used according to your instructions to benefit the person who is disabled.
What is Involved in Special Needs Planning?
One of the most important parts of special needs planning is to appropriately structure ownership of any gifts you provide, any money a disabled person receives, or any money a disabled person has from any source. The goal is to ensure the money does not disqualify the individual from qualifying for Medicaid and other benefits. A special needs trust can be used for these purposes. There are both first party and third party special needs trust and there are specific requirements associated with creating each type of trust. Gersh Law Offices, P.S.C. will help you to select the right type of trust and to address all formalities associated with trust creation.
Special needs planning may also involve making provisions for the care of a person with disabilities after you are gone if you are currently serving as a primary caregiver. This is often a major concern for parents of people with disabilities whose children are not able to care for themselves.
How can a Louisville Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help?
Gersh Law Offices, P.S.C. provides legal assistance with all aspects of special needs planning. We represent individuals with disabilities who will be receiving money from an injury settlement or other sources who wish to create a special needs trust to preserve eligibility for benefits. We also represent relatives and friends of people with special needs who wish to ensure their friend or relative is cared for and receives the full benefits of any gift provided.