Planning for a Family Member with Special Needs 

With proper legal and financial planning, a family can guarantee that a loved one with a disability will enjoy a comfortable lifestyle after her or his caregivers are gone.  Without proper planning, an inheritance or improperly titled assets can prevent a disabled beneficiary from receiving important benefits.   

Government Benefits

Government benefit programs recognize that family contributions to the person’s well-being can indeed improve the individual’s overall quality of life. To qualify for such assistance, however, the family’s contributions must be only supplementary in nature.  Current government benefit programs permit the family to provide some supplementary income and resources to the person with a disability. These government regulations are very strict and carefully scrutinized, however. 

The Importance of Planning Ahead

A mistake in planning, or the mistake of not engaging in thoughtful planning, can make the difference between an inheritance that truly benefits the person with a disability, and one that causes the person to lose access to a wide range of needed services and assistance.     

Special Needs Trust

Thoughtful trust planning is essential to ensure that the needs of your loved one with disabilities are taken care of in a manner that also allows the individual to take advantage of important “needs-based” government benefits.  Any Special Needs Trust must carefully define the benefits to the beneficiary as supplemental.  A trustee of a Special Needs Trust must be given sole and absolute discretion for distributions that are solely supplemental in nature.  Special circumstances, family dynamics, financial resources and concerns, and unique needs must always be considered before making any decisions about a Special Needs Trust.  It is also crucial that the Special Needs Trust fit in with the broader estate plan of the individual(s) creating the trust.  

Have additional Questions? Contact our Special Education Team

Special Education is a continued collaborative process that involves decision-making on many levels.  Ideally, the parents, experts, and educators will work within the tenets of respect for each other and a unified concern for the best interest of the child. If you have additional questions, please reach out to Brian M. Douglas & Associates’ Special Education team. Contact us for a free consultation. The new school year is ready to begin! You can call (770) 796-7951 or use our online contact page.