As an Alabama Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney, one of the most frequently asked questions that I get is "What is a Special Needs Trust?"
Hi, my name is Bill Miller. I am an estate planning and elder law attorney here in Alabama. One of the questions I get most often is what is a special needs trust. A special needs trust is a type of trust that is designed to protect those who are receiving means-tested government benefits such as those with disabilities, whether they be an adult or a child. The trust allows them to get other money from outside sources and put that money in a trust managed by someone else so that they do not lose those government benefits.
So in other words, if you have a child who has special needs and they are receiving a social security check because of that disability, if you leave them a large lump sum of money when you pass away or if a relative were to do so when they pass away, then that child could potentially lose that government check every month.
By placing those assets in a special needs trust instead of giving it to them outright or directly, then you protect the disabled child or disabled person’s ability to continue to get their check from social security, but they can also get the use and benefit of the other money because it is placed in a trust and a third party is controlling it and using it then to provide extras besides just basic needs like food and shelter and things like that.
If you have additional questions, I encourage you to visit our website at www.annistonestateplanning.com. Give me a call at (256) 237-3339, or register for one of our free estate-planning workshops where we talk about these and other issues in more detail.