Special Needs Trusts Lawyer in Oxnard, CA Working Hard to Ensure You Create the Trust You and Your Family Need
In order for many disabled people to obtain health insurance and other assistance, they must qualify for Medi-Cal and other government programs based on financial need. I help our clients to legally protect assets so as to retain or obtain eligibility for these sometimes life-giving benefits. This planning also applies to my clients who wish to provide for a disabled heir in a will or a trust.
This planning also applies to my clients who wish to provide for a disabled heir in a will or a trust. Special Needs Trusts allow people to keep the benefit of their money and their public benefits. For example, having unprotected money can cause people to lose their Medicaid, SSI, and any other public benefits which depend upon financial needs. Call the Law Offices of Eric Ridley today at (805) 244-5291 for a free initial strategy session and get the help you deserve.
What is a Special Needs Trust?
Special Needs Trusts provide a state and federally-approved way for individuals on need-based public assistance to supplement their benefits without disqualifying themselves from benefit eligibility. Often, when a person is receiving Medi-Cal, SSI, Food Stamps, housing assistance, or other need-based government benefits, these benefits, particularly Medicaid health insurance, are irreplaceable or have an incalculable replacement value.
Individuals who are receiving Medi-Cal may not qualify for any other health insurance by reason of their disabilities. Yet, if the person comes into money (through a settlement, inheritance, winning the lottery, or otherwise) their newfound assets can cause them to lose their benefits because they would no longer meet the financial tests for eligibility. In order to qualify for Medi-Cal and other need-based government benefits, the individuals must have under a certain amount of assets and be earning below a certain income.
Coming into other assets may therefore substantially harm the person by causing them to lose their health insurance or other need-based government benefits. Special needs trusts can help address this problem.
How are Special Needs Trusts Different From Other Trusts?
Special needs trusts are set up specifically to provide financial support for someone with special needs, without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. This is accomplished by ensuring that the money in the trust is not considered "countable assets" for purposes of determining eligibility for government benefits.
There are four key components to every special needs trust:
The trustee: This is the person or entity who will manage the trust and make sure that the money in it is used according to the terms of the trust. The trustee is tasked with a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the beneficiary.
The beneficiary: This is the person with special needs who will receive the benefits of the trust.
The grantor: This is the person who creates the trust and funds it with assets. The grantor can also be the trustee, but they don't have to be.
The purpose of the trust: Special needs trusts must have a very specific purpose: to provide financial support for the beneficiary without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits.
There are two types of special needs trusts: first-party trusts and third-party trusts. First-party trusts are funded with the beneficiary's own assets, while third-party trusts are funded with someone else's assets (usually a family member or friend).
Both types of trusts are designed to supplement, not replace, government benefits. This means that the trustee is only allowed to use trust funds for "extra" expenses, like housing, education, transportation, and medical care.
First-party trusts are created when a person with special needs comes into a large sum of money, like through an inheritance or personal injury settlement. The money is placed in the trust so that it doesn't count as an asset for purposes of determining eligibility for government benefits.
Third-party trusts are created by a family member or friend who wants to leave money to someone with special needs without jeopardizing their government benefits. The grantor can specify how they want the trust funds to be used, and they can even name themselves as the trustee.
If you're considering setting up a special needs trust for a loved one, contact me today to schedule a consultation. I'll help you navigate the process and make sure that your trust is compliant with all applicable laws.
Why Should I Hire a Special Needs Trusts Lawyer?
Because of the number of potential complications that can arise when setting up a trust, it is important to have an attorney who is experienced in this area of the law. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the law and ensure that your trust is set up correctly. I have successfully set up many special needs trusts over the years. I will inform you of all the necessary steps, from drafting to funding the trust. I can also help you find the right trustee, and I will work with you to make sure that your loved one's needs are met.
If you are considering setting up a special needs trust, or if you have already started the process and need legal assistance, please contact me today. I would be happy to answer any questions you have and help you through this process.
Contact the Law Office of Eric Ridley Today for Compassionate and Helpful Service
Special needs trusts are often established by parents of children with disabilities to ensure that their children will have the best possible quality of life even after they're gone. If you're considering establishing a special needs trust for your loved one, contact the Law Office of Eric Ridley today for dedicated and helpful service. I'll walk you through the process every step of the way and make sure your loved one's future is taken care of. Call the Law Offices of Eric Ridley today at (805) 244-5291 for a free initial strategy session and get the help you deserve.