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Comprehensive Special Needs Trust Services

Probate Administration | Estate Planning | Will Preparation

Comprehensive Special Needs Trust Services

probate attorney in austin

Todd A. Wilson

Estate Attorney

Special needs trusts and supplemental needs trusts aim at protecting assets for the benefit of specially-abled individuals. Get in touch with us today for more information.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

An A-B Trust structure is used by married couples who want to reduce taxes on estate. This is done by both of them placing their assets into the trust and naming an external person other than their respective spouse as the beneficiary.

The Special Needs Trust facilitates and preserves the qualification for government disability benefits. It shields assets from the government’s view and prevents the need to fully “spend down” to the qualification limit. They make sure that an income streams in for specially-abled children whose parents are either deceased or unable to earn any income. Ensure a pool of funds to manage enexpected events.

This trust is created by the disabled individual for his/her own benefit and for the benefit of their spouse. It uses a different standard to distribute government funds to the needy disabled, unlike regular trusts, that use HEMS (health, education, maintenance, or support).

It is always advisable to choose a professional trustee, as you might require assistance from a care manager to create a Special Needs Trust.

What is a Supplemental Needs Trust?

Supplemental Needs Trust is the same as Special Needs Trust, except that it prevents government claims of reimbursement upon death. It needs to be created by a 3rd party individual (parent, grandparent, or other individuals) for the benefit of specially-abled individuals.

There are basically two uses; the first is testamentary trusts and the other, personal injury lawsuits. Testamentary trusts include the transfer of the estate to the beneficiary (including spouse). For this to materialize all standard wills/trusts should permit the same, else it might require judicial modification.

In case of a personal injury lawsuit, the settlement or judgment funds must be deposited by the attorney directly into the SNT account.

Who Should Consider SNTs?

  • Individuals qualifying for disability benefits
  • Individuals with children likely to qualify for disability benefits in the future
  • Specially-abled children likely to receive inheritance from family members
  • Individuals involved in accidents who receive settlement or lawsuit funds
  • Estates where inheritance passes to disabled spouse
  • Individuals concerned with repaying government disability benefits

Who is Eligible for Government Disability Assistance?

  • Autism and Asperger’s syndrome
  • Musculoskeletal problems – Back injuries
  • Cardiovascular conditions – Heart issues
  • Vision and hearing loss
  • Respiratory illnesses – COPD and asthma
  • Neurological disorders – Multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, epilepsy
  • Mental disorders – Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia
  • Skin disorders – Dermatitis
  • Acquired brain injury: Cognitive, Sensory, Emotional, Physical