As a parent, relative, or friend of a person with special needs, you know that your loved one with a disability may face some extra life challenges. If you want to ease the burdens and improve quality of life for your disabled loved one, you may need to provide for their care or may wish to make a financial gift. If you plan to do either of these things, you need to know the appropriate legal processes to use to ensure you are doing the very best thing for the person with the disabling condition.
Special needs planning can be complicated, as you need to take into account things like preserving government benefits. You should get professional legal advice with the process to ensure good intentions do not result in bad outcomes.
O’Drobinak & Nowaczyk, P.C. can provide you with assistance with every aspect of special needs planning. To find out more about how our legal team can help, give us a call at 219-865-2285. You can also reach out to us to get answers to questions you may have including:
- Why is special needs planning important?
- What is involved in special needs planning?
- How does a Schererville, Indiana special needs planning lawyer help you?
Why Is Special Needs Planning Important?
Special needs planning is essential for two primary reasons. One issue is a person with special needs may not be able to care for himself or make decisions on his own. Another issue is that giving money to someone with special needs could result in a loss of Medicaid coverage, Supplemental Security Income, and other means-tested government benefits.
If a person with a severe disability cannot care for himself and you are currently providing care as a parent or a guardian, you need to make certain you have plans for who will handle day-to-day care for your child or other loved one. If something happens to you, the plans you have in place will determine where the disabled person should live and who should make decisions on his or her behalf.
Even when simply leaving money to someone with a disability, the disabled person’s inability to manage his or her own affairs could become an issue. You want to make certain the money is managed appropriately and is used to improve quality of life. This means you need to put someone in charge of properly managing it and spending it wisely.
Giving money raises issues related to government benefits, as well as issues of who will manage the money. Both Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income have strict limits on the resources which someone can have while still qualifying for coverage. If you give a gift of money or assets which results in the gift recipient being above the resource limits, benefits could be lost. This can be a major problem if someone is disabled and needs Medicaid to pay for costly treatment expenditures.
You don’t want a gift to be wasted or to become a burden, nor do you want it to cause a loss of benefits. You also don’t want to leave your child or other loved one without a guardian who can provide a safe place to live and appropriate care. To make sure this does not happen, you need to take care of special needs planning as soon as possible.
What Is Involved In Special Needs Planning?
The special needs planning process varies based on your role in the life of the disabled person, as well as based on your goals.
If you want to make sure a person with disabilities is physically cared for, you may need to name a guardian and select a new living environment, such as a home or facility. It is also common for parents of a child with special needs to make plans for the child’s siblings to take him or her in upon the death of the parent. The right choice will depend upon your family situation, but you need to make plans in advance and make your wishes clear.
Those giving money will need to focus on choosing the best approach, which often involves a special needs trust. A special needs trust can protect the money held within it so it does not count as a resource for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, or other means-tested benefits. A trustee can also be chosen to manage the money or assets given to the person with the disability.
How Can An Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help You?
O’Drobinak & Nowaczyk, P.C. can provide personalized assistance with special needs planning. To find out more about how a Schererville, Indiana special needs planning lawyer can help you, give us a call at 219-865-2285 or contact us online today.