Special Needs Planning

Do you have a child with special needs?

If you have a child with special needs, then you probably asked yourself the all-important question:

Who is going to take care of my child when I’m gone or if I am no longer able to do so?

You also have to consider how your own medical needs and long term care will deplete your assets and make it harder to provide for your child. At the same time you probably want your child to remain eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, community services for the developmentally disabled, housing subsidies and other need-based public benefits.

All of these considerations have probably entered your mind, and we can help you plan for all of them using special needs trusts and other planning devices.

Child Wheelchair 1

How a Special Needs Trust Can Help

There are various types of Special Needs Trusts (often called Supplemental Trusts), and each type is designed to accomplish a specific goal or prepare for a specific situation. As a general rule, Special Needs Trusts are created to ensure your child is eligible for government assistance such as Medicaid and SSI.

Special Needs Trusts are created to pay for the comforts and luxuries that are not included under public assistance. For instance, a Special Needs Trust will pay for goods and services like education, recreation, counseling, and medical attention beyond the simple necessities of life. The Trustee can still use the funds for food, shelter and other necessities if it’s in the beneficiary’s best interest even if that would result in a reduction of governmental assistance.

A partial list of the services available to your child through the use of a special needs trust includes:

  • Annual check-ups at an independent medical facility
  • Supplemental education and tutoring
  • Attendance of religious services
  • Medical and dental expenses
  • Transportation, including the purchase and maintenance of vehicles
  • Materials related to any hobbies or recreational activities
  • Trips, vacations, entertainment such as movies, shows, sporting events
  • Computers, videos, furniture, or electronics
  • Athletic training or competitions
  • Special dietary needs
  • Personal care attendant

Special Needs Trusts can also be created through a Will to ensure you leave your assets in the proper way to your special needs child. In order to ensure the child does not lose governmental eligibility, parents must ensure that any inheritance is left to the special needs trust. Ideally all gifts and bequests from others will be left to the Special Needs Trusts. Similarly, any non-probate assets such as life insurance policies should be changed to designate the Special Needs Trust as the beneficiary.

It would be our pleasure to help you navigate special needs planning for your loved one in New Jersey. If you have a question, please fill out the contact form to the right, call us at 908-236-6457, or email Alec Borenstein, Esq., directly at alec@bmcestateplanning.com.

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