Individuals with special needs and their families face unique challenges and a myriad of legal issues. Among the most challenging issues for parents of a special needs child is who will care and support the child following the parent’s death? If you have a child or other loved one with a physical or mental disability, a special needs trust may be a critical piece of your estate plan. A special needs trust provides specific directives about the care of your loved one while protecting his or her inheritance and allowing him or her to receive important governmental benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. The assets in the trust provide supplemental care above and beyond that which governmental benefits provide to ensure a better quality of life for your loved one. The trust assets can be used to pay for items such as vacations, electronic equipment, entertainment activities, funeral arrangements, and even gifts for others. Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, PC will provide you with information, support and strategies to give you peace of mind about the future care of your loved one. We help you navigate through the complex maze of federal and state laws to provide you with clear solutions to best meet your goals.

How is a Special Needs Trust created?

A Special Needs Trust formed with money or property belonging to someone other than the disabled beneficiary, known as a third party special needs trust, may only be created by a parent, a grandparent, a court-appointed legal guardian, or a court. A third party special needs trust may be a stand alone document or a testamentary special needs trust may be created in a parent or grandparent’s Last Will and Testament as a way to provide for the ongoing care of a disabled person. Special needs individuals who receive a direct inheritance or a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit may also establish a special needs trust known as a self-settled special needs trust. Self-settled special needs trusts require a payback provision which states that any funds remaining in the trust at the death of the special needs individual be used to pay back the state for the care provided to the individual during his or her lifetime.

No limit has been placed on the total amount of property or assets that can be placed in such a trust. Funds that are held in a special needs trust are available for the medical and dental expenses not covered by public benefit programs, equipment requirements, special dietary needs, insurance, education expenses, vacations, recreational and other life enhancing expenses. Funds in the trust must be used exclusively for the disabled beneficiary and may not be subject to creditors or judgments for any reason.

The attorneys of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates, PC serve clients throughout central Indiana, including Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Greenwood, Fort Wayne & Kokomo.