Special Needs Trust

Houston Special Needs Trust Attorney - The Law Office of Whitney L. Thompson

Parents of children with special needs must plan for their children’s future care. Children with special needs often depend on government benefits such as Social Security benefits and Medicaid for their medical care. These benefits could be significant over the lifetime of the child.  However, these benefits can be rendered invalid if the child receives a large amount of money from an inheritance or is awarded a settlement in a case. Special needs planning can help ensure that the child or children remain eligible for government benefits in a manner that does not jeopardize the eligibility for the aforementioned benefits and permits proper management of the funds or assets.

Planning for a loved one with special needs can be challenging but it can also be rewarding.  Seeking the legal advice of an experienced special needs trust attorney can help families protect their children’s eligibility for government benefits. At the Law Office of Whitney L. Thompson, we focus on helping families understand the rules around special needs planning.

Contact us today at (281) 214-0173 to speak with a skilled estate planning lawyer.

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Houston Special Needs Planning

Special needs planning focuses on the best way to meet the basic needs of a loved one who has special needs or will eventually become in need of assistance. This process allows a parent or a family member to ensure that their family member with special needs is able to continuously receive the benefits that they are entitled to.  

Programs such as Medicaid and Social Security Disability can be complicated. Individuals who have money (such as inheritance) can become ineligible for government programs. Medicaid, for example, requires the person to have little assets and very limited money. According to Medicaid’s Accountable Asset Rule, if a person receives a large sum of money from a family member, they may not be eligible to receive financial support from Medicaid. Children turning 18 also have to be considered poor in order to qualify for Medicaid assistance. 

It is important to observe the limits placed on the assets of benefit recipients disabled persons by government authorities. Our Houston special needs planning attorney Whitney L. Thompson may be able to help you legally and safely achieve your goals for your child with disabilities. Contact our Houston office today to schedule a consultation with an experienced special needs or estate planning legal professional.

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The Purpose of a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust can be a valuable tool when you plan to support a loved one with special needs. Special needs trusts (also called supplemental trusts) allow parents and other family members to set aside money for a family member who has a special need or disability. A special needs trust’s main purpose is to support disabled family members in the case their primary caregivers pass away. An SNT or special needs trust also provides funds that can be dispersed over time to pay for living and care expenses.

In a special needs trust, the money can be distributed slowly to cover expenses such as living costs and other expenses without exceeding the person’s assets limit. This ensures the person is not left with an unmanageable lump sum.

A special needs trust can be used to supplement these benefits or cover costs such as:

  • Transport
  • Supplemental Therapy
  • Education
  • Incidentals that may include food, entertainment, and clothing

Estate planning attorney Whitney L. Thompson assists her clients in creating trusts or other tools for special needs planning. She works with families by guiding them through the rules of care planning, eligibility for public benefits programs such as SSI or Medicaid, referrals to resources, special needs trusts creation, modification, and trust advising.

To schedule a consultation with estate planning attorney Whitney L. Thompson, contact us at (281) 214-0173.

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Common Types Of Special Needs Trusts

Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) are designed to maximize public benefits eligibility and ensure continuity of care for the beneficiary’s entire life. The trust requires careful planning to make sure that trust terms are in compliance with applicable laws.

In Houston, these are the common types of special needs trusts: 

  • Third-Party Special Needs trusts  – An individual other than the beneficiary can create a third-party special need trust. This could be a grandparent or parent. A family member might make provisions in their will to establish a special need trust after their death. They can also create an independent special needs trust that their parents and other relatives can contribute to.
  • First-Party Special Needs trusts – The beneficiary’s assets are used to fund the first-party trust for special needs. A first-party special need trust is often established after an individual receives a substantial amount of money through an inheritance or a lawsuit.
  • Support Trusts – While a support trust can be similar to a special need trust in many ways, there are some important differences. A support trust is different from a special need trust in that the trustee must make payments to cover expenses for food and shelter. Beneficiaries of support trusts are not eligible for Social Security benefits or Medicaid benefits. This makes them less suitable for anyone who is currently receiving or plans to be receiving these benefits.

Special needs trusts lawyer Whitney L. Thompson has helped many families in Houston create a trust that is best suited to their needs. If you have a loved one with special needs and you would like to learn what options you have for their future care, schedule a consultation with us today.

Contact our Houston law firm at (281) 214-0173.

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The Importance of Having A Special Needs Trusts Attorney

Establishing a special needs trust can have its own set of challenges. Families may benefit from the guidance of an experienced special needs trust lawyer to help them understand their roles as trustees or guardians, and how they can fulfill those roles combined. These types of conversations can prevent future misunderstandings between family members.

Special needs trust attorneys may also be able to help structure special needs trusts in the event of personal injury litigation settlements or damages awards. The Houston special needs trust lawyers at The Law Office Whitney L. Thompson advise our clients about the specific kind of trust they need for their loved ones and who will be managing the trust. We will then work on drafting the trust. 

At the Law Office of Whitney L. Thompson, we focus on helping families plan the future of their loved ones. We may be able to help you understand your rights and explore the options that will suit your family’s needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Contact the Experienced Special Needs Planning Attorney Whitney L. Thompson Today

Parents with special-needs children should plan for their future thoroughly. Special needs children often depend on government benefits that are based on their needs, such as Social Security and Medicaid. This benefit could be significant over the lifetime of the child. However, if the child receives money from an inheritance or is awarded a settlement in a case, their government benefits may be taken away from them. The goal of special needs planning is to ensure that government benefits recipients have access to money in a manner that does not compromise their eligibility and permits proper administration.

Whitney L. Thompson and our Houston team of special needs planning legal professionals have years of combined experience in helping families create plans that will ensure their children’s well-being into the future.

Call us today at (281) 214-0173 to schedule a consultation. 

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