Philadelphia Special Needs Trusts Lawyer
Philadelphia Special Needs Trusts Lawyer
Get Help From a Special Needs Planning Attorney in Philadelphia
At Scott Counsel, P.C., our Philadelphia special needs planning attorneys have the unique skills and knowledge to help you put the right legal structure in place to protect your most vulnerable loved ones. Special needs planning is complicated—you do not have to go through it alone. If you have any questions or concerns about special needs planning or special needs trusts, we can help. To set up a fully confidential initial consultation with a Pennsylvania trust planning lawyer, please call us at (856) 672-7248 or connect with us directly online.
Special Needs Individuals Face Unique Estate Planning Issues
Do you have a child, grandchild, or other loved one who has special needs? If so, it is crucial that your estate plan properly accounts for their unique needs. Vulnerable, special needs individuals face some unique challenges when it comes to estate planning. Here is the primary cause of concern:
- Most special needs individuals in Philadelphia receive some form of state and/or federal public benefits. Often these benefits are paid through Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Both Medicaid and SSI are strictly means-tested. A special needs person who would otherwise qualify could be ruled ineligible if they have too many assets.
By leaving money, property, or other assets directly to a special needs person through your will, your generosity could inadvertently render them ineligible for Medicaid, SSI, or other programs. An answer is available: A special needs trust can help solve this problem.
An Overview of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs)
A trust is a legal relationship between a grantor, trustee, and beneficiary. Also sometimes referred to as a ‘supplemental needs trust, a special needs trust is a unique type of trust designed specifically to address the unique needs of people with qualifying disabilities. Here are four of the most important things to know about special needs trusts in Philadelphia:
- Two Types of Special Needs Trusts: Special needs trusts fit into one of two broad categories: 1) Third-party special needs trusts, and 2) Self-settled special needs trusts. A third-party special needs trust is funded by a third party, such as a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or other loved one. The assets in question never previously belonged to the beneficiary. In decades past, this used to be the only type of special needs trust. Legal reforms have allowed for the second category of special needs trust called a self-settled special needs trust. A self-settled special needs trust is also sometimes referred to as a first-party special needs trust. It is funded directly with assets that belong to the special needs individual. There are unique federal regulations in place for self-settled special needs trusts.
- Funds Do Not Count Towards Income/Asset Restrictions: The key thing to know about a special needs trust is that the money/assets placed within it will not count towards a beneficiary’s income or assets for a government program, such as Medicaid or SSI. In effect, this means that a special needs trust can be used to provide financial resources to a special needs individual without running into the problem of rendering them ineligible for public disability benefits.
- Special Needs Trust Funds Can Be Used to Cover Many Expenses: While there are some restrictions in place on how the funds placed within a qualifying special needs trust can be used, they are not restricted merely for medical expenses. Quite the contrary, the funds within a special needs trust can be used to help support the lifestyle of the beneficiary by covering a wide array of different common expenses. Among other things, this includes expenses such as computers, electronic equipment, utility bills, cable bills, phone bills, internet services, and supplemental therapies/treatments.
- Special Needs Trusts Can Be Customized for the Unique Needs of Your Loved One: Not all special needs trusts are exactly alike. How exactly a special needs trust will be structured depends on the unique needs of your loved one. In some cases, you could give your disabled loved one significant authority to manage their financial affairs. In other cases, your special needs loved one may need considerable help managing supplemental financial support. Our Philadelphia, PA special needs planning attorneys can help you craft a trust that works most effectively for your loved one.
How the Philadelphia Special Needs Trust Lawyers at Scott Counsel, P.C. Can Help
Estate planning is complicated—even more so if you are making preparations for a special needs child or loved one. At Scott Counsel, P.C., we help families navigate the special needs planning process. You can put a plan in place to provide the maximum amount of support and protection to your special needs family member. Our Philadelphia special needs planning lawyers will:
- Listen to your story and explain the key things to know about state and federal law;
- Help you set up a special needs trust that effectively protects your loved one; and
- Take any other legal action needed to secure the best outcome.
Ultimately, the goal of a special needs trust is to ensure that you can provide the maximum amount of financial support to your vulnerable loved one without undermining their eligibility for federal or state benefits. With a history of client testimonials, families rely on our Philadelphia special needs planning attorneys for results.
Speak to Our Philadelphia Special Needs Planning Attorney Today
At Scott Counsel, P.C., our Philadelphia special needs planning lawyers have the unique skills, expertise, and legal experience that your family can count on. If you have any questions about setting up a special needs trust (SNT) to protect your vulnerable loved one, we are here to help. Call us at (856) 672-7248 or send us a message through our website for a confidential consultation. Our estate planning law firm helps families with special needs trust in Philadelphia and throughout the surrounding communities, including in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.
– When my son, who has Cystic Fibrosis and CF related diabetes, was suddenly and unexpectedly removed from his Medicaid program, we were devastated and frightened not knowing where we would get the resources to pay for his extremely high priced prescriptions. Justin was the attorney who handled our case. From the very beginning, he proved to be very thorough and experienced with navigating the process of reversing the Medicaid decision. However, it was his apparent kind, caring nature that made us feel the most at ease. Justin was successful in securing a continuation of benefits for my son, and we are extremely grateful for having his expertise during this most stressful ongoing process. Thank you, Justin!
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