A Placerville McDonald’s just celebrated 30 years of employment for a very special employee. That special needs employee has Down syndrome. Customers at the Placerville McDonald’s helped to surprise him at this celebration of his three decades of providing great service. His job is to “make sure everything is all cleaned,” according to Voss.
The best Lobby General in the business
His job title is Lobby General and he is responsible for keeping the restaurant tidy. The customers have certainly appreciated his work over the years. His employer says he doesn’t call out sick and maintains a good attitude at all times. When Voss first applied for the job back in 1986, McDonald’s gave him the same chance as applicants who did not suffer from a disability. Voss’s family is grateful for the chance he was given all those years ago.
What is a special needs trust?
The purpose of a special needs trust is to provide a set of instructions for the future care of someone with special needs. Those needs can include medical care, general personal care, financial support, and protecting eligibility for government benefits. A special needs trust is needed in case something happens to the primary caregiver, in order to make sure the beneficiary will still receive the care they need.
Two types of trusts with different purposes
There are generally two types of special needs trusts, each with its own specific purpose. A General Support Special Needs Trust is most often used as the main financial resource for someone with special needs. A Supplemental Care Special Needs Trust, on the other hand, is used more as a secondary source to be used when government benefits have been exhausted. A Supplemental Care Special Needs Trust is probably the most common type used for this purpose.
What is included in “special needs” care?
The term “special needs” is a broad term that refers to medical treatment, health-care services, and other services the purpose of which are to increase the beneficiary’s quality of life. They can also be used to support daily living activities, relief for the primary caregiver, shelter arrangements, necessary renovations to the beneficiary’s home, and many other things.
Creating a special needs trusts
This specific type of trust can be created in one of two ways. The trust can be created during the caregiver’s lifetime or it can be established through a provision in his or her will. Special needs trusts are irrevocable which means modifications cannot be made after the trust is executed.
Choosing a trustee for the trust
Usually, the person who creates the trust document, the grantor), appoints himself or herself as the trustee in order to retain control over the trust property. That is because the grantor is the usually the caregiver for the person with disabilities. It is also necessary to choose someone to serve as successor trustee in case the caregiver is no longer able to serve at any time for any reason.
How to fund a trust
In most cases, a trust created for special needs is funded by the parent or relative of that person. On the other hand, in cases where the trust is funded by the beneficiary’s own assets, it is referred to as a “self-settled” special needs trust. Under federal law, Medi-Cal requires reimbursement for benefits paid when the beneficiary dies, when there was a self-settled trust.
Consider using pooled trusts
A special needs trust can also be funded as a pooled trust, meaning the funds from several different beneficiaries are pooled together, managed and invested on behalf of all beneficiaries, usually by a non-profit organization. There are special benefits to using this type of funding method, so discuss your options with your California trust attorney.
Funding a special needs trust with cash
A trust can also be funded with almost any type of asset, including real estate, securities, and personal property. However, cash is often the best option when it comes to paying for items not provided by SSI or Medi-Cal. One way to handle this type of funding is to include provisions in the trust for selling certain property in order to liquidate that property for cash.
Join us for a FREE seminar! If you have questions regarding special needs planning, or any other estate planning needs, contact the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation, either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500.