Taking care of a loved one who has special needs is a primary concern for all of the immediate family members. Trusts and especially special needs trusts may be a powerful strategy used to ensure that your family member has the support he or she needs without being disqualified from critical government programs such as Medicaid.

Usually, the rules for a proper special needs trust mandate that trust assets cannot be used for anything that a government program could pay on behalf of the disabled beneficiary such as long-term care, shelter and food. Usually, the trustee of a special needs trust could pay for home furnishings, vacations, extraordinary therapy, recreation, vehicles and the like.

In order for a special needs trust to effectively accomplish this objective to avoid disqualification from supplemental security income or Medicaid, there must be clear and specific requirements and language outlined in the trust. Inclusion of a wrongly permitted use of funds could eliminate all of the protections on which the special needs trust was founded. This is why it’s always important to sit down and draft these documents directly with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney, who can walk you through every aspect of what the language means and how that is likely to be interpreted by the government.

Scheduling a consultation with an estate planning attorney who has a track record of thoroughly reviewing the individual situations of a special needs beneficiary in order to come up with the right tools is extremely important for the future of your family member.

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