Most parents in Florida who have children with special needs are concerned about the welfare of their kids when they are no longer there to provide care. However, parents must approach this matter with care to avoid jeopardizing the child’s access to government benefits. Fortunately, special needs trust attorneys can provide legal support and guidance to put safeguards in place designed to protect special needs children that might outlive their parents.
Under Medicaid, adults and children with significant mental or physical disabilities can receive necessary nursing care, Supplemental Social Income cash assistance, vocational training and some special education programs. However, those with countable assets exceeding the prescribed limits will not be eligible. For that reason, the manner in which parents or grandparents bequeath inheritances must be carefully planned so that the eligibility of the children for these benefits is not jeopardized.
For example, a grandparent wants to ensure a special needs grandchild’s future care and deposits a check in the child’s name into his or her bank account. The recipient now has assets that may deny him or her eligibility for the programs that provide an improved life experience. Only if that child spends all that money and then reapplies, might re-entry into the Medicaid programs be allowed.
To ensure the continuing care of disabled children after the deaths of their parents, the most appropriate step might be to consult with special needs trust attorneys. In Florida, such lawyers can establish trusts into which family members or other third parties can deposit funds for the care of disabled loved ones. Assets in a trust will not be part of the person’s estate, and they will thus not have an effect on his or her eligibility for government benefits.
Source: CNBC, “Parents should know the ABCs of special needs trusts“, Shelly Schwartz, Accessed on Feb. 3, 2017