Thursday, September 26, 2013

Special Needs Trust.


With Will getting closer to 21 and receiving SSI (Supplimental Security Income) from Social Security, there is a need to keep his money for his use. Even though he has another account, we have found that if the money in his account goes over a certain amount, SSI has to stop and will resume when the dollar balance is below the maximum allowed. I have already had to return a months 'pay' since I did not use it (Will did not need much so I couldn't spend it all).
Someone I ran into at a seminar spoke of a 'special needs trust' that she had set up for her child. So she gave me the name of her attorney and I went to meet with her to ask questions. Basically, there are several types and you would need to determine which is best for your son/daughter. Very simply put, what these trusts do is protect your child's assets while allowing them to receive income and any monies given to them even through inheritance and life insurance. There is an account which can be handled by a family member acting as trustee who is responsible for ALL payouts, investing, income received, tax filings, etc. There is another which is run by a third party, a team of people, taking care of the same issues. The trust's differences are who owns the trust.
As the attorney told me, if there are other children who may be able to handle this, it may be too overwhelming for them. What if they marry and move away? Can they handle this long distance? Another thing to consider - if there is no trust set up and he/she inherits money, probate court will designate a trustee, it may not be someone or a firm you want. One type of trust may ask for money to be paid back to Medicaid upon death, while another may not. According to our local trusts, there is no maximum or minimum dollar amount to establish the trust but there are fees and you need to be aware of them to determine how much to put in. There MAY BE NO MAXIMUM to how much can be in the trust and it will not affect social security. I was told by someone working for Social Security that the trust is NOT counted for eligibility for SSI. Again, it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY that you contact someone who specializes in these types of trusts to help you decide IF and WHICH is best for your child's situation. GOOD LUCK!!
(picture from SSI website)
Sites to look at for information: Plan of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, National Special Needs Network in Pennsylvania

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