The Special Needs Trust presents unique administrative issues because of the need to protect the beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefit programs, including Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Located in Carmel, Indiana, our firm offers services that give special needs trust beneficiaries and their families the ability to meet supplemental needs not provided by public assistance programs, while still protecting eligibility for benefits.
Attorney Nancy Slater, a former doctor who treated disabled patients in developmental behavioral medicine, will work with you to create a special needs trust that fits your needs or those of your loved one.
What is a Special Needs Trust?
A Special Needs Trust is written according to the requirements specified by federal and state laws that allow setting aside funds in this way to provide for the comfort, care and supplemental needs necessary to quality of life for a child or adult who is mentally and/or physically disabled, yet who also must access needs-based government benefit programs to provide health care and support services. Creating a special needs trust, sometimes also known as a supplemental needs trust, should allow the disabled individual to have assets set aside in the trust to provide for supplemental needs and extras that are not provided for by public benefit programs, while still maintaining eligibility for these needs-based programs.
How is a Special Needs Trust created?
A Special Needs Trust formed with money or property belonging to someone other than the disabled beneficiary may only be created by a parent, a grandparent, a court-appointed legal guardian, or a court, under the laws regulating creation of special needs trusts. If the money with which the trust is formed belongs to the beneficiary, for example from a direct inheritance or a settlement from a personal injury suit, one additional option allowed in this situation is having the disabled beneficiary place the funds in a pooled special needs trust him or herself, if he or she has the mental capacity to do so.
No limit has been placed on the total amount of property or assets that can be placed in such a trust. Funds that are held in a special needs trust are available for the medical and dental expenses not covered by public benefit programs, equipment requirements, special dietary needs, insurance, education expenses, vacations, recreational and other life enhancing expenses. Funds in the trust must be used exclusively for the disabled beneficiary, may not be subject to creditors or judgment for any reason. A testimentary special needs trust may be created in a parent or grandparent’s Last Will and Testament as a way to provide for the ongoing care of a disabled person.
Our Goal: Health Care, Education, Housing and beyond
A special needs trust can help a loved one pay for health care options, therapies, education, transportation, and housing above and beyond the room, board, and medical care available with government benefits. Indiana Special Needs Attorney Nancy Slater’s medical background helps her understand the medical conditions and needs that affect the disabled individual whose loved ones are often interested in contacting a special needs trust lawyer, and she is able to clearly explain the legal needs and requirements involved in the special needs trust process. Please visit our Web Resources page for a list of web sites that may be of help with your specific issues.
Special Needs Trust Reformation
Special Needs Trust Reformation involves changing or reforming another kind of trust into a special needs trust, usually for the purpose of gaining eligibility for needs-based public benefits for the trust beneficiary. This process may involve petitioning a court for permission to change an irrevocable trust or one whose creator has now died or become incapacitated.
Our Special Needs attorneys serve clients throughout Indiana, including Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Zionsville, Greenwood, Fort Wayne & Kokomo.