In the past, a common estate planning approach for parents with special needs children was to simply pass on all the necessary assets to the child who did not have special needs, and that child would take care of the needier child. That method does not always work, however. If you are seeking a way to enrich your child’s life long term, the Law Offices of Deborah S. Ball can help.
With offices in Manhattan and Queens, we also serve clients in Brooklyn, lower Westchester, Nassau County and the entire New York City metropolitan area. Attorney Deborah S. Ball brings more than 25 years of legal experience to bear on all of her special needs planning cases.
Special Needs Trusts
The special needs trust is one of the more important long-term care planning instruments for parents of children with special needs. It can be established through a will as part of an overall estate plan or as a stand-alone document, and it can be funded by anything, including a life insurance policy or a personal injury award. Special needs trusts overlap with many other estate planning issues.
One of the most important issues that affects a special needs trust is government benefits. The choices you make while establishing the trust could have far-reaching consequences on your child’s entitlement to important government benefits. Attorney Ball and her staff can help you establish a special needs trust while providing valuable counsel regarding issues like:
- Type of trust: Similar to supplemental needs trusts, special needs trusts can be first party or third party. There are payback requirements in first-party trusts that do not exist in third-party trusts, making third-party trusts the better option in many cases.
- Guardianships: The beneficiary’s guardian will play an important role in assessing the beneficiary’s needs, handling the details surrounding the government benefits the beneficiary will receive, taking care of the beneficiary’s housing and the like.
- Personal injury awards: If the beneficiary has received a financial award in a personal injury lawsuit, it could result in the loss of government benefits. Establishing a special needs trust in which the trustee provides for the beneficiary’s goods and services will help avoid the loss of government benefits.
These are just a few of the issues involved with establishing a special needs trust. Attorney Ball has the experience to help you establish a trust for your child that will help you obtain your goals while still allowing you to maximize the important government benefits available to you.
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