WHAT IS SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING?
Special needs planning involves much more than special needs trusts. In fact, sometimes a special needs trust is not part of the plan. Special needs planning is needed when planning for an individual under the age of 65 who has a disability. The overarching goal is to provide for that individual’s financial security, continuity of care, and quality of life. It can begin as early as the individual’s birth through to their transition to young adulthood and into their mature years.
Planning may be done with the loved ones of the individual, oftentimes parents or grandparents, as they contemplate how to provide for the individual’s needs for his or her lifetime. It more often than not entails a marriage between public benefits and private resources. An attorney who has knowledge and experience in special needs planning can assist families in navigating the labyrinth of public benefits available to individuals with a disability, while establishing a vehicle by which such benefits can be supplemented. This vehicle may very well be a special needs trust.
If the individual with a disability has resources of his or her own that may interfere with the individual’s eligibility for public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid, planning for such resources is unique and requires the knowledge and experience of a special needs planning attorney.
Beyond planning for the resources that may be available to an individual with a disability is determining who will make decisions regarding his or her person when he or she is an adult, whether he or she will make decisions for himself or herself or whether a guardian will need to be appointed by the court to do so.
It can be overwhelming for families of a loved one with a disability to contemplate the many issues to be addressed to ensure that he or she is provided for throughout his or her lifetime. But with the help of a special needs planning attorney, rest assured, you will find peace of mind.