Few people who have not experienced it for themselves can understand how heavy the concerns for a disabled family member can weigh on the mind. Fear and anxiety about what will happen to them when you are gone is enough to keep you up most nights. If you speak about your concerns with others, you are sure to hear all types of advice, ranging from sound to–well, not so sound. Those who don’t understand what you are going through and can’t begin to fathom the intense love and protective instincts you experience on a daily basis lack the knowledge to be able to provide you with sound advice. So what can you do and who can you turn to when you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of preparing for your passing? If you are in the Bellevue area, you can count on Lyons | Sullivan for answers. You have options when it comes to protecting the future of your disabled loved one. One such option is a Special Needs Trust.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A typical trust can include real estate, financial assets, or various properties. Because of the unique needs and abilities of a disabled individual, Special Needs Trusts have to be designed differently. A Special Needs Trust designates the individual as a “beneficiary” rather than a “trustee.” What this means is that the beneficiary can benefit from the trust, but won’t be in control of the assets. The duty of trustee will be passed to another individual who will control the assets detailed in the trust. Any assets or property included in the trust are not considered to be owned by the beneficiary and are protected accordingly.

Protection for the Future

Special Needs Trusts offer security for your loved ones in more ways than one. If he/she receives government benefits such as Social Security or Medicaid, an inheritance could potentially disqualify him/her from continued government assistance. A Special Needs Trust can protect the eligibility status of your relative and allow him/her to receive all possible resources.

Special Needs Trusts can also protect your loved one against disinheritance. If assets are left to non-disabled relatives without a trust set in place, there is always a possibility that those resources won’t be received by your disabled child or relative for various reasons.

Types of Special Needs Trusts

Generally, Special Needs Trusts fall into one of three categories:

  • Self-Settled Special Needs Trust: In this type of trust, the beneficiary adds his/her assets into the trust. Furthermore, certain trusts allow for SSI or Medicaid to be added to the trust as well.
  • Third-Party-Settled Special Needs Trusts: In a Third-Party-Settled Special Needs Trust, a third party funds or sets up a trust for a disabled person. Most often this is a family member or friend.
  • Pooled Special Needs Trust: This type of trust is created and sustained by a nonprofit organization. This organization then acts as the trustee. An individual account is maintained for each beneficiary, but assets in the trust are pooled together for investment purposes.

You have spent your life protecting and caring for your disabled loved one. It follows that you would want to ensure that he/she is provided for when you are gone. Don’t wait until it’s too late, and don’t be afraid to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Contact Lyons | Sullivan today. We are more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with peace of mind.