Special Needs / Disability Planning

Special Needs Planning

At Geisler Patterson Law Firm, we are dedicated to providing comprehensive, effective plans for families with special needs children and/or adults. If you are struggling to care for a loved one with special needs, we understand what you are going through and can help you cope with the many financial, social and medical issues involved. We can help you find the assistance you need now, and show you how to ensure your special needs loved one will be well cared for after you are gone or are no longer able to serve as the primary caregiver. In addition, we can:

We help you accomplish these goals by working closely with you to understand your priorities and overall family objectives, as well as analyzing your current financial situation. This allows us to determine the benefits available to you and what legal strategies we can use to maximize these benefits today and prepare for the future care of your loved one tomorrow. Then, we will use our experience, knowledge of the law and close relationships with numerous service providers to secure your financial assistance and implement your plan. We can also review your plan periodically to take into account any changes in your financial, family or medical situation, or review a plan drafted by another attorney who may not be as skilled in this area as we are.

How To Avoid A Special Needs Planning Nightmare: Special Needs Trusts

Traditional Wills and Trusts leave your money outright to your disabled child. This can result in a nightmare scenario for you and your disabled child. Why? SSI requires that a person receiving SSI must have less than $2,000.00 in assets. So if a disabled person receives an inheritance in excess of this amount, he or she will lose their SSI benefits.  Losing these benefits, especially the medical portion of the benefits, can lead to disaster.  Every dime received in the inheritance will be quickly spent, and when the money is gone, the person will need to requalify for SSI.

At Geisler Patterson Law Firm, we understand the many potential pitfalls involved in procuring public benefits and planning for the disabled, and we can prepare a special kind of Trust specifically designed to pass an inheritance to a disabled child. These Trusts are called Special Needs Trusts, or Supplemental Needs Trusts (SNT).

A SNT can be used to provide for many things. The Trustee of a SNT may buy things for the beneficiary such as wheelchairs, vans, toiletries, computers, as well as pay for caregivers, without any reduction in the SSI benefit. A SNT can hold life insurance benefits, 529 plans and receive IRA benefits in a manner that allows the IRA to be stretched out over the lifetime of the beneficiary. The benefits of this kind of Trust cannot be underestimated. If the disabled child does not need all of the money, the inheritance can be distributed at death to the other children or grandchildren.

A SNT Trust must meet specific requirements in order to protect the disabled beneficiary.  Very few lawyers understand the rules related to planning for the disabled.  A Trust that is not drafted correctly will end up in court, and be subject to filing fees, annual accountings, and at least two lawyers charging attorneys fees. The court will require that the state be paid back. Thus no one else in your family will ever get any of the money not used by your disabled child.

For a complimentary consultation to find out how you can avoid such a nightmare and best protect your disabled child, contact us today.