The Major Advantage of a Special Needs Trust

Child support is one of the most important issues separating spouses need to settle during the divorce process. Though each parent may fight for the right to have custody over their child, there are many instances when guardianship is awarded to only one parent, with the other just being given visitation rights.

Though there are instances when spouses are able to settle all divorce-related issues amicably, a friendly settlement just does not seem to be the means for many other couples. Arenson Law Group, PC, explains on its website that where a contested divorce is the case, the spouses would find it easier to address all issues through the help of highly-skilled divorce lawyers; this is especially true when settling child custody and child support issues. Such cases can be energy draining and the help of a divorce lawyer is absolutely needed most of the time.

Regardless of who gets appointed by the court as custodial parent, one common duty of divorced spouses is to support their child, more so if the child were suffering from physical, intellectual or psychiatric disability. A parent who sincerely cares about his/her child, though, despite failing to win custody battle, will do everything to make sure that the child is never deprived of a good standard of living by providing for his/her various needs and, if possible, for his/her future.

Leaving (to a disabled loved one) property and money will have to be planned carefully, for failure to do so can very well result to deprivation of government financial and health care benefits, specifically the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and nursing care, which is provided by the Medicaid welfare program. For while bequeathing a car or a house to a child with disability will never affect his/her SSI and/or Medicaid eligibility, it is not the same if what will be left behind were cash (such as bank savings) and certain assets.

Avoiding this problem is possible, though, through the drafting of a special needs trust (also called supplemental needs trusts). This supplemental needs trust is a federally/state-recognized means of protecting the assets of, and providing benefits to, a loved one with disability. By leaving (for a loved one) properties and cash to the special needs trust, instead of to your loved one directly, he/she will never lose eligibility to SSI and Medicaid. This trust will end, however, once the all the money in the trust has been spent or upon the death of the beneficiary.

The testator (or the person drafting the Will) also has the legal right to appoint his/her chosen trustee, whose responsibility will include management of the properties specified in the trust and the cash, especially where spending for your loved one is the concern.

On its website, the law firm Peck Ritchey, LLC, clearly explains that, whether it is for the benefit of disabled adults or minors, there are ways to improve the quality of their lives through special needs trusts, coordination of public and private resources, and asset planning. Resolving division and conflict among family members due to legal issues, such as administration of estates, Wills, guardianships, etc., can also be mended, especially with the help of a competent and experienced attorney in the field of family law. The only necessary thing is that the family, or the individual concerned, chooses the family law lawyer who will be able to best address its unique needs and issues.

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