Individuals with special needs or disabilities often rely on government programs and assistance to survive. These programs are vital to several aspects of their lives and are not a luxury but a need. Unfortunately, there are many situations that can make someone ineligible for these government programs, even if the person relies heavily on their benefits.
A special needs trust may be a solution if you or someone you love has a disability and is afraid of losing income-based benefits. With the help of a qualified and experienced estate planning attorney like Hillary Goebel, you can use the power of trusts to secure your benefits and provide additional financial support.
Hillary Goebel has many years of combined experience working in all areas of estate law. She sees many estate planning clients, but she also takes on clients who are beneficiaries going through probate. This wide range of services provides Hillary with a thorough understanding of all areas of estate law, which means she can provide complete and reliable information for your family.
Though special needs trusts are constructive for people with disabilities, many families are unaware that they exist, let alone how they can be beneficial. Similarly, many law firms lack the experience and specific knowledge that is required to utilize this tool. Goebel Estate Planning is proud to be able to provide high-quality, reliable counsel regarding special needs trusts to clients and their families.
Look no further than Hillary Goebel if you are looking for a Temecula special needs trust attorney.
A trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to hold title to your assets under your Trust. After the grantor becomes incapacitated or passes away the account is held by a third party, called a trustee. The trustee is responsible for holding the assets on behalf of the grantor or trustor and distributing them to the beneficiaries according to the grantor’s wishes.
In situations where the grantor has died, the trust allows its assets to bypass probate court. This prevents the state from taking the deceased’s debts out of the estate, eliminates probate fees, and allows more to be distributed to the beneficiaries.
A special needs trust works a bit differently. Though there is still a grantor who puts money in a trust, the trustee can distribute the assets to the beneficiary while the grantor is still alive. The assets that are in trusts do not disqualify the individual from receiving public benefits. This can allow a person with a disability to keep higher amounts of savings without making themselves ineligible for the programs on which they rely.
A special needs trust can be revocable or irrevocable, depending on the goals and needs of the beneficiary or special needs individual. Placing assets intended to benefit the special needs individual will not only protect them from losing their government benefits, in some cases there will be no required repayment of those government benefits.
The two most common types of special needs trusts are third-party and self-funded. Third-party special needs trusts require that someone like a parent, friend, or caregiver puts money into the trust. The money that goes into the trust can be inheritances, life insurance policies, etc. The beneficiary may not put their own money into a third-party trust, but they do retain their benefits.
A self-funded special needs trust requires that the beneficiary puts their own money into the trust. The purpose of these accounts is to maintain the beneficiary’s eligibility for benefits without having to give up their personal savings.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both kinds of special needs trusts. Hillary Goebel will discuss the details with you and help you to determine which will work well in your situation.
When the government determines eligibility for benefits, it does not take money in trust into consideration. As a result, there are limits to how a beneficiary can spend money from the trust. The way the money can be spent and used depends on the benefits the special needs individual is receiving. This would be discussed and outlined with the family.
It is important to get legal help right away if you believe that a special needs trust is the right choice for your family. These accounts can be complicated and follow unique rules that do not apply to normal trusts. Many attorneys do not have the proper understanding of special needs trusts to create or use one properly, so it is essential that you find legal representation with specific experience with this unique type of trust. Hillary Goebel fits these requirements.
Ensuring the terms of the trust are clearly and strictly defined when created is essential. You risk the trust being invalid or the beneficiary losing their benefits if they are not properly defined.
You should also outline the directives clearly to protect the recipient better. An experienced special needs trust attorney can help ensure that the terms of your trust are valid and clear.
When you create the trust, you will also have to assign someone to manage the trust. This individual is called the trustee. You may name any person over the age of 18, but it should be someone with a vested interest in the beneficiary. This can be a friend, a loved one, a professional fiduciary, a bank, or a similar position. The trustee will oversee allocating trust funds to the beneficiary for the duration of their lifetime.
The cost to create a special needs trust depends on the attorney and law firm that you use. In many circumstances, attorneys charge a percentage of the trust value as their fee. Other attorneys charge hourly for their services. Some attorneys ask for a flat fee for certain types of accounts. Every law firm has its own fee structure, and the average cost to create a special needs trust is between $2,000 and $3,000.
The rules surrounding special needs trusts are strict, so the stakes are high for the beneficiary; it is a worthy investment to contact a knowledgeable attorney when creating a special needs trust. Proceeding without help is a risk, as the beneficiary can lose their benefits and may face fees and penalties if you do not create the trust correctly. Hillary Goebel can help provide safe options.
Though there are many advantages to a special needs trust, there are a few disadvantages of which you should be aware.
The primary disadvantage is the fact that the beneficiary does not have control over the funds. Whenever the beneficiary needs money from the trust, they must make a request through their trustee. It is then up to the trustee to decide whether trust funds can be allocated to the requested expense. Sometimes, beneficiaries find this to be restrictive and frustrating.
Another disadvantage of some special needs trusts is that Medicaid requires the trust to pay them back after the beneficiary has passed away. In some circumstances, Medicaid takes any funds remaining in the trust after the beneficiary’s death.
Legally speaking, you do not need an attorney to help you create a special needs trust. However, many people who make their own special needs trusts find it challenging and make mistakes. Unfortunately, these mistakes can lead to the trust being invalidated, which puts the beneficiary in a vulnerable position. The trustor and the benefactor may be subject to fines or penalties for misreporting funds.
If you are thinking of creating a special needs trust for a loved one, it is important to hire an attorney to help you. Though you may believe that you are saving some money by creating it yourself, many people end up losing money in the long run.
Attorney Hillary Goebel has years of experience creating special needs trusts. She offers a wealth of knowledge and resources to her clients, giving them peace of mind knowing that their special needs trust has been properly created.
Do not leave your special needs loved one with an uncertain financial situation. Create a special needs trust and protect their future. You can begin by contacting Hillary Goebel today.