Help with Benefits

According to the 2011 Torn Security Blanket Study, 88% of parents who have children with special needs have not set up a trust to preserve elgibility for benefits.

Plan for the Future

According to the 2011 Torn Security Blanket Study, 69% of families say they are very concerned about being able to provide lifetime care for their dependents with special needs.

Work with us, today!

We will help build a financial plan will help ensure that your entire family, including your loved one with special needs, is protected, cared for, and able to achieve their most important goals. We can help you look beyond the day-to-day challenges and create a plan that will give you peace of mind, knowing that you have done everything you can to ensure your loved one will have the resources for a financially secure life! We understand the challenges you face and can help ensure a better quality of life for your loved one with special needs and help avoid mistakes that could deprive him or her of essential government support and benefits!

Who are we?

We’re a team of experts who want to help you navigate the complexities of all special needs planning. We share a common bond; as we are parents, friends and family of people with special needs. One things for sure, we are dedicated to providing you the highest quality service and advice, as well as the latest information on legal developments! Our team is designed to be thorough and committed to assisting you and your family through our experience and expertise!

What do we do?

  1. Help identify and prioritize your goals.
  2. Breakdown your resources; net-worth, income, earnings, expenses.
  3. Identify gaps between personal and government benefit resources.
  4. Develop strategies to fill those gaps.
  5. Implement an action-plan based on priorities.
  6. Analyze and review your plan periodically.

The idea of planning long term care for a loved one with special needs can be incredibly overwhelming.

Planning for the entire family, their goals and priorities is the best way to ensure that your loved one with special needs will be taken care of today and throughout their lifetime. Your financial plan is the road-map to achieving important goals for you and other family members, such as funding education, saving for retirement and protecting your family in the even something would happen to you. Your loved one with special needs may still depend on you after you stop earning a regular paycheck, are you prepared?

When structuring asset ownership as part of a financial plan, be mindful of government eligibility and asset limits that affect your loved one with special needs. A special needs trust enables you and other to provide funds for their support without jeopardizing eligibility for government benefits. A special needs trust also can receive distributions from an annuity, life insurance death benefit or other asset intended to support a loved one with special needs, without risking their eligibility for government benefits.

Once you have defined the goals of your special needs trust, you need to find the right individual to provide care to your loved one with special needs when you aren’t able to. This should be someone likely to outlive your loved one with special needs and who will follow your outlined letter of intent. A guardian oversees your loved one with special needs day to day care, housing, medical appointments, entertainment, transportation as well as make important decisions in their lives. A trustee is responsible for managing funds, decisions and administrative duties for the trust itself.

Though it can be difficult to look beyond the care of a loved one with special needs, you need to plan with the intention to provide for both your loved one with special needs as well as your own. Our full special needs financial planning process helps you budget for day to day expenses, including health and personal care, educational experiences, transportation and other random costs that may arise unplanned. As you consistently set aside resources and fund your plan, you protect your family against risks and use investments to accumulate assets according to your goals, risk profile and time horizon. Lastly, because situations unplanned for may suddenly happen, we’ll help you to periodically evaluate and update your plan to reflect your current situation and continue to make sure its meeting the necessary goals.

What are special needs trusts?

A trust is created when property (real estate, finances, tangible items) is managed by a person for another person’s benefit. The person managing the property is called the “trustee”. The person whose benefit it is for is called the “beneficiary”. The trust lasts as long as it is needed. This usually means the trust will go on until the beneficiary’s death or until the funds are expunged. Special needs trusts are made specifically for the benefit of disabled or mentally ill beneficiaries. These beneficiaries lack the mental capacity to manage their own finances. The trust is created with the specific needs, lifestyle, and future of the beneficiary in mind. Often times these special needs trusts are used to ensure that the beneficiaries don’t lose government benefits they are receiving. The trustees of special needs trusts can be family members or, if an appropriate and trustworthy family member is unavailable, a third party will be appointed by the court. Choosing the right trustee must be done very carefully, especially for special needs trusts that are used for the benefit of a younger person.

What are the benefits of special needs trusts?

Often times, people with disabilities qualify for government assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, vocational rehabilitation, and subsidized housing. Many people make the mistake of leaving assets to their disabled loved ones through a will. This is problematic because acquiring assets, such as a lump sum of money, can disqualify your loved one for these types of government assistance programs. By setting up a special needs trust, instead of solely using a will, you can avoid these issues. Because the trustee has total control over the management of the funds, and the beneficiary does not, government program administrators, like the ones from SSI and Medicaid, ignore the trust assets when considering eligibility. Special needs trusts can also be used to set up inheritance funds or proceeds from a settlement on behalf of the disabled person. This way, if your loved one is the plaintiff in a successful lawsuit or inherits assets, those funds will go into the trust and will not disqualify him or her from receiving those government benefits. On the flip side, if the beneficiary is ever sued, the funds in his or her special needs trust cannot be touched–they are not subject to any judgment.

How can the beneficiary access the special needs trust?

Having the trustee directly give your loved one money could disqualify him or her for government benefits. Instead, the trustee can use the trust assets to purchase necessities for your loved one. The trustee can buy services and products, like personal care attendants, vacations, home furnishings, medical and dental expenses, education, vehicles, physical therapy, and even recreation.

What if we are not concerned with government benefits?

The beauty of special needs trusts is that they address the specific needs of the disabled person, whereas, other types of trusts do not. Even if a family is not interested in government benefits, they should still consider a special needs trust to address those specific needs. Furthermore, you never know what the future holds. There is no sense in sacrificing government services that could be beneficial for your disabled loved one in the future.

Should I consider a pooled trust?

Pooled trusts are a type of special needs trust that are managed by nonprofit organizations. These nonprofit organizations pool the money from multiple families and invest it. Each beneficiary still has his or her own separate account and his or her own trustee, chosen by the nonprofit organization. These appointed trustees even purchase things for the beneficiary, just like a trustee appointed by the family or the court would. If you are having a hard time coming up with someone who would be a good fit as a trustee, a pooled trust may be something to consider. Check your local nonprofit organizations to see what is available in your area.

Do I need a lawyer to set up special needs trusts?

Anyone can create a special needs trust, as long as the required language is included. There are plenty of good do-it-yourself books you can buy that will walk you through how to properly create a special needs trust. However, there may be times when your circumstances are a bit more complicated. For instance, if you are setting up a trust with money the beneficiary received from a settlement. In these types of cases, consulting an attorney is a good idea, because complicated and state-specific rules then apply. The best thing to do is to let a lawyer take care of your special needs trust for you. There are so many different requirements and details that experienced probate attorneys will be able to hash out for you.

What are some top statistics?
  1. One out of 9 children under the age of 18 in the US today receive special education services.
  2. 20.9 million families have members with a disability
  3. One in every 26 American families reported raising children with a disability
  4. 84% have not written a letter of intent outlining an agreement for the future care of the child
  5. In 2005, 53% have not identified a guardian for their child. Now in 2011 it is less than 49%.
  6. People with a financial plan are more optimistic about their financial future than those without a plan
  7. The majority of middle-income Americans have a positive perception of the value with financial planning
  8. 88% of the people who have a financial plan believe the benefits outweigh the costs. In 2008 it is 95%
  9. People with a financial plan are more likely to stay the course and exhibit disciplined financial behavior
  10. Autism effects 1 in every 88 children
  11. 40% of children with autism do not talk at all
  12. The lifetime cost for an individual with autism is estimated to be $3.2 million
  13. There is currently no cure for autism
  14. No one knows what causes autism
  15. In 20 years there has been more than a 600% increase in diagnosed cases of autism