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October is Special Needs Month

By Debra Schuster

If you or a family member has a disabling condition and receives or may need public, means-tested benefits in the future, you or your family member may be disqualified from receiving benefits if you receive any inheritance, judgment or settlement from a lawsuit, or other funds coming directly to you.

To ensure a disabled person maintains eligibility for Medicaid (waiver benefits for disabled children and adults, and Medicaid nursing home coverage), a Special Needs Trust should be created to preserve eligibility for these public benefits. A Special Needs Trust can ensure the inheritance, judgment, settlement, or other money/assets in the name of the disabled individual are used by the Special Needs trustee to enhance the quality of life and care for the disabled person. The trustee of the Special Needs Trust can be a family member, a friend, professional, or trust company.

When assets are paid into a Special Needs Trust, the trustee has the ability to make decisions about how the money can be spent in the best way to ensure that the disabled person’s needs are met while their public benefits are maintained.

A number of different types of Special (Supplemental) Needs Trusts are available, all of which are designed to ensure eligibility for public benefits and preserve money and other assets coming to a disabled person.

If a disabled person receives an inheritance in their name, a judgment or settlement from a lawsuit (wins the lottery!), or has family members who want to leave that person an inheritance, a Special Needs Trust should be prepared.

The attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C. can advise individuals and families about the uses and benefits of Special Needs Trusts and other estate planning to preserve inheritance for a disabled loved one. Call or contact us today to make an appointment.

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Debra Schuster

Debra Schuster

St. Louis elder law attorney Debra K. Schuster focuses on helping social workers, geriatric and care managers, financial planners, and others who help with elder care issues. In addition, Ms. Schuster facilitates conversations about elder law issues for families faced with making difficult decisions for their loved ones.