Different Types of Special Needs Trusts
There are many kinds of special needs trusts, there is not just one thing called a special needs trust. I have parents calling me all the time saying “I need a trust” I ask “what kind of trust, and they’re like “oh, I don’t know.” That’s where an attorney sitting down with you talking with you, saying “ok now tell me about your family, tell me about your circumstances. What’s in your estate?” Get personal with your estate planner. Your estate planning attorney learns Johnny has a drug addiction problem though nobody else knows about it. We know that Caroline has bankruptcy in her past and isn’t good with money. In a previous life, I was a minister. I can tell you, people are far more honest with their attorneys than they are ever with their ministers. I get the truth as a lawyer. Determining what type of special needs trust you need for your particular circumstance is where an attorney is supposed to help you. You may need a combination of these depending on what you’re trying to do and what the assets are that we’re trying to deal with. If your child receives a lawsuit settlement, legally that’s their money so we have to use a self-settled specialties trust to protect that money and keep them eligible for Medicaid, however, you don’t want to leave all your money that you are going to leave behind for that child in that trust because that trust has to be used to repay Medicaid, and they don’t care where the money came from once it’s in that trust. They have the right to recover it. You set up a third party special needs trust, you can have two, three, four trusts for a child. That’s not a problem. That way, whatever you leave for the child, you get to determine what happens to the money when that child no longer needs it. It can go to other children, other grand-children, it can go to organizations that you support. You can do with it whatever you want. If you want, you can leave it to Medicaid. They will accept it. I haven’t had any families select that option yet. If your child is living in a group home, you’re not around anymore, your husband’s not around anymore, your wife’s not around anymore, the siblings might be living in another state, do you want someone visiting your child to make sure your child is not being abused, not being neglected that their resources are being used for their benefit? I promise you, if you call that group home and ask how he’s doing, as long as he doesn’t cause any trouble for the staff or other residents, he’s doing great. I like to make sure that someone’s popping in regularly, popping in unannounced saying “Hey, how are things going” and maybe one time all heck is breaking loose one time they showed up, maybe someone just spilled a milk all over the floor, that happens. If it happens every time someone makes an unannounced visit, we might have a problem that we need to address. I like for my trust to provide a mechanism to do that. If the trustee can do it, great, if family for friends can do it, great. If they can’t, than the trustee needs to hire someone who can do and make sure that there are resources available to do that and hire someone.
Nadler Biernath LLC assists clients in the Atlanta, Georgia area and throughout Georgia including Kennesaw, Alpharetta, Roswell, Marietta, Buckhead, Johns Creek, Duluth, East Cobb and Dunwoody.