For many years, we have provided for our loved ones with special needs and serious disabilities. We have taken them to occupational/physical/speech therapists. Found special camps. Had endless meetings with our school districts. Driven countless hours. Shopped with love for just the right gift to bring a smile. Bought a special outfit. In general, we have supplemented basic government benefits to enable our loved ones to enjoy a better quality of life. Who will continue to provide these things after you are unable to act as the primary caregiver? How do you make your wishes known? How do you ensure your loved ones get the same special services that you provided during your lifetime?
Although the truth is that no one will give our children the same love and attention that we have, by setting up a Special Needs Trust (sometimes called a Supplemental Needs Trust), you can ensure that many of those extras can be provided without disqualifying your loved ones from their government benefits such as SSI, Medicaid and food stamps.
Besides basic financial care, these government benefits may also make a disabled person eligible for local community services such as supported housing. These benefits help your loved ones live independently and help them care for him or herself.
It is important to work closely with a lawyer who understands all aspects of creating and administering Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts, and who is willing to spend the time with you to establish the appropriate planning tools to meet your family’s unique needs.