Special Needs Planning for Families

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Butcher Elder Law works to provide resources for those with special needs. We understand that families would like to have a plan of action in place to care for their loved one. It is important to coordinate all of the legal, financial, and special needs care for children with disabilities, now and in the future. We can assist you through the process.

  • Public Assistance Benefits – Individuals with disabilities may be eligible for public assistance benefits including Medicaid, Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver Programs, such as SELF, IO, Level One, and Transitions DD; Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSDI). It is important for the attorney that your family works with to understand the differences between these benefits and know how to preserve eligibility.
  • Asset Preservation/Protection – Families can help provide for their loved ones by setting up a Special Needs Trust. A special needs trust helps protect the individual with a disability’s right to public assistance. Funds in these trusts can then be used to enhance the lives of the person with the disability. There are a few types of special needs trusts that we can assist in setting up.
    • First Party Special Needs Trusts – This trust is generally created by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian using the child’s assets to fund the Trust (e.g., when the child receives a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and will require lifelong care). If assets remain in the Trust after the child’s death, a payback to the state is required, but only to the extent the child receives public assistance benefits.
    • Third Party Special Needs Trusts – This type of trust is created using the assets of someone other than the person with the disability including the parent(s) or grandparents. It can be created as part of an estate plan through a distribution by a Will or Living Trust or it can be set up independently.
    • Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust – For individuals with a disability over the age of 65 with assets above the Medicaid resource limit, we can help set up a Pooled Medicaid Payback Trust through the Community Fund Management Foundation (CFMF) or one of several other organizations.
    • Trust Administration – If your family has already set up a special needs trust, but are confused about the rules of the trust, let us help. We know what the assets of a special needs trust can be spent on to benefit the individual with the disability. We can make sure that distributions are not used for in kind support.
  • Guardianships – A parent may be required to set up a guardianship for their child with a disability. We can help with the application process to set up a guardianship.
  • Caregiver Agreements/Letters of Intent – Here, at Butcher Elder Law, we focus on a comprehensive plan. We want to help families anticipate and plan for any of life’s changes. We can set up caregiver agreements for families. We can also help you put together a letter of intent. A letter of intent is a document that will instruct a successor guardian or trustee on the habits of your child. It will help make sure that there is a smooth transition, if you are not able to care for your child.

To learn more, contact Butcher Elder Law today.