J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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What are the benefits of a special needs trust?

When people plan for their futures, they don't often think about their own death. However, it is important to for you to consider how you will divide your assets once you have passed on. Florida residents want to make sure there is money to help take care of their family members. In particular, people may be worried about their family members with special needs.

In these cases, a special needs trust can be a big help. There are many benefits to a special needs trust. However, the main benefit is that it protects the person's eligibility for many assistance programs. Special needs individuals may be receiving different types of government assistance. This could include Medicaid, housing or food assistance or Supplemental Security Income. When receiving these benefits, the person's income and assets are highly scrutinized.

If you leave an inheritance to a special needs family member through a will, the money the person receives would be considered an asset by many of these government programs. Depending on the number of assets, this could disqualify the person from much needed governmental programs. Through the use of a special needs trust, however, the assets become the property of the trust. The trustee then uses the property for the benefit of your family member. In case of special needs trust, assistance programs do not take into account the value of the trust's assets.

The information in this blog post should not be construed as specific legal advice. Instead, an attorney can help people understand how a special needs trust and other trust administration issues can work in their situation.

Source: Findlaw.com "Special Needs Trusts FAQ's," accessed Feb. 1, 2015

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