Houston Special Needs Planning Lawyer

Special Needs Estate Planning

Providing care for a child or loved one with special needs, such as mental or physical disabilities, will certainly cause you concern about their future and what will happen to them when you are no longer able to financially support and care for them. 

While you can make provisions in your estate plan to leave your loved ones money and assets, such a gift may keep them from qualifying for essential benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs. However, these public programs only provide for the bare necessities such as food, housing and clothing. Clearly, these limited benefits will not provide your loved ones with adequate resources to enjoy a richer quality of life. If parents leave assets to their child who is receiving public benefits, they run the risk of disqualifying the child from receiving such benefits. Luckily, the government has established rules that allow assets to be held in a specific kind of trust, called a “Special Needs” or “Supplemental Needs” Trust for a recipient of SSI and Medicaid, as long as certain requirements are met and specific provisions are included in the trust.

Special/Supplemental Needs Trusts can help Safeguard Government Benefits

Our law firm can help you set up a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust so that government benefit eligibility is preserved while at the same time providing assets that will meet the supplemental needs of the person with a disability i.e. those that go beyond food, shelter, clothing and the medical and long term support and services of Medicaid. The Special or Supplemental Needs Trust can fund those additional needs. The Special or Supplemental Needs Trust must be drafted specifically to supplement, and not supplant public benefits.  Trust funds cannot be distributed directly to the disabled beneficiary. Instead, the funds must be disbursed to third parties who provide services and/or goods for use and enjoyment by the disabled beneficiary.

The Special or Supplemental Needs Trust can be used for a variety of life-enhancing expenditures without compromising your loved ones’ eligibility status such as: 

  • Annual check-ups at an independent medical facility
  • Health and dental treatment and equipment for which there are not funds otherwise available
  • Rehabilitative and occupational therapy services
  • Medical procedures, even though not medically necessary or lifesaving
  • Medical insurance premiums
  • Supplemental nursing care
  • Eyeglasses
  • Attendance of religious services
  • Supplemental education, training and tutoring  
  • Out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses
  • Transportation (including purchase of a vehicle)
  • Maintenance of vehicles
  • Materials for a hobby or recreation activity
  • Trips or vacations
  • Cultural experiences and entertainment such as movies, shows or ballgames
  • Goods and services that add pleasure and quality to life such as computers, videos, televisions, cable equipment and service, reading and educational materials, music, furniture, telephone service, or other electronics.
  • Athletic training or competitions
  • Special or supplementary dietary needs
  • Personal care attendant or escort and private case management
  • Companionship

Contact Schnurr Law Firm for Special Needs Planning in Houston, TX

Special and/or Supplemental Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate plan if you have disabled beneficiaries for whom you wish to provide after you pass away. Typically, Supplemental Needs Trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with a separate asset like a life insurance policy or are established in your Will or as a sub-trust in your existing living trust. Contact our office to see how we can help with your Special/Supplemental Needs Planning.

Schnurr Law Firm, PLLC serves clients throughout the greater Houston area, including, but not limited to Houston, Bellaire, West University, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg, Katy, Cypress, The Woodlands, Kingwood, League City, Webster, Clear Lake, Pearland, Angleton, and throughout Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County and Galveston County.

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1111 North Loop West, Suite 1115, Houston, TX 77008
| Phone: 713-662-2889

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