Special Needs Require Special Planning
Many people in the United States are currently considered disabled as defined by Social Security. Their disability may entitle them to receive various benefits that are provided by the federal and state government. Some of these benefits, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), food stamps (“SNAP”), housing or fuel assistance, may only be available to the disabled person if they meet eligibility requirements that require the disabled person to have income or assets less than a certain amount. Should a disabled person receive an inheritance outright, the inheritance almost always causes the asset limit to be exceeded and benefits to be disrupted, or even lost. Fortunately, with proper planning it is possible to leave an inheritance to a disabled person and not disrupt their benefits in any way.
Why it’s the best option
Often, a parent or family member of a disabled person will choose to leave the disabled person’s inheritance to another family member, who is then expected to provide for the disabled individual. This plan may work if the family member carries out their obligation as anticipated, but this plan in no way guarantees that the disabled person will receive the benefit of the assets left with the other family member. As such, the best plan includes a Special Needs Trust, which is designed to benefit the disabled person and simultaneously present the disabled person from losing any available governmental benefits.
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by: Gina M. Barry