When someone is born with a disability or becomes disabled, friends and family of the person with special needs may wish to assume a role in the care of the disabled person. You may also wish to make financial provisions for a person in your life who is disabled. A person with special needs may have financial needs that extend beyond the life of caregivers, and may require ongoing assistance with routine activities of daily living. Caring friends and family want to provide all the help that is needed.
Unfortunately, sometimes a gift given can have a detrimental effect, or the creation of a care-giving plan can become bogged down with legal complexities. You need to understand how the laws apply to protect people with disabilities and what you can do within those laws to make sure your loved one is always cared for and has a secure future.
Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law is here to help. For personalized advice on how you can provide for a loved one who has special needs, give us a call at 916-437-3500. We can also answer questions you may have about special needs planning including:
- When is special needs planning necessary?
- What should I do to make a plan for someone with special needs?
- How can a Northern California special needs planning lawyer help me?
When is Special Needs Planning Necessary?
A special needs plan is necessary for caregivers of a person with a disability, if the person with the disability cannot care for himself. If you are a parent, sibling, or friend and you provide day-to-day care of someone with special needs, you must know what will happen if you pass away. Someone else may need to assume guardianship and become responsible for providing a stable home, appropriate supervision, and necessary medical care. This is often the most important type of special needs planning, because you want the peace of mind of knowing your relative or friend with disabilities is always going to be kept safe.
Special needs planning is also necessary if a person with a disability is going to be receiving a personal injury settlement, an inter vivos gift, or an inheritance. If you are leaving money to someone with special needs or if a friend of yours who has special needs is about to come into resources, a plan needs to be created both to ensure the money does not cause loss of benefits and to ensure the money is managed correctly.
Many people who have disabilities receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and receive Medicaid benefits. Both are means tested, so an influx of resources could lead to a loss of income and a loss of medical coverage. This income or assets could thus be a detriment, since it ends up costing money to the person with the disability. The ownership of the settlement, gift, or inheritance must be structured appropriately to ensure no benefit losses occur.
If the person with the disabling condition is not personally able to manage investments or property, a plan also needs to be made to ensure the money or property is invested wisely and used appropriately to enhance the quality of life of the person with the disability.
What is Involved with Creating a Plan for Someone With a Disability?
Special needs planning usually involves the creation of a special needs trust, which can be used to protect assets, prevent loss of benefits, and ensure the money and property in the trust are carefully managed. Specific instructions can be left for how the money is to be used, and the trustee will have a duty to use it to provide for the person with disabilities. Other steps to special needs planning can include making provisions for care after a caregiver passes away. This can be very complex, and proper legal help is essential.
How can a Northern California Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help?
Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law is a full-service firm dedicated to helping people create a plan for the future to care for their loved ones. We know that when there is someone in your life with a disability, planning ahead for financial and personal care becomes much more complicated.
We provide the assistance and advice you need to make sure your relative or friend with a disability will be protected no matter what happens to you. If you live in Sacramento, Roseville, Davis and surrounding areas, give our Northern California special needs planning lawyers a call today at 916-437-3500 or contact us online for personalized advice.