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Special Needs Trusts: Protect Your Loved Ones’ Future

Gene Kirzhner Oct. 2, 2023

If you have a child, sibling, or family member with special needs, you may be concerned about what will happen when you are no longer able to care for them.

Generally, a person with special needs or some type of disability would receive government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps (SNAP Benefits), or Medical Assistance (MA) in case of having no relative or people in charge of taking care of them.

What the Benefits Do

While government benefits may cover the most basic needs, such as food, housing, shelter, clothing, and certain medical services, these limited benefits will not provide your loved one with special needs with the resources that would allow them to enjoy a higher quality of life.

These benefits depend primarily on whether the person has limited income and assets. For example, an inheritance may jeopardize a person with a disability’s access to these government benefits.

Nevertheless, through the incorporation of a Special Needs Trust, it is still legally possible to provide a disabled person with an “inheritance” and not put at risk their possibility to access government benefits.

Setting up A Special Needs Trust

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD can help you set up a Special Needs Trust that can pay not only for everyday survival items but cover experiences beyond the individual’s basic needs, such as:

  • Vacations

  • Trips to visit relatives

  • Concerts, Theater, Movies

  • Hobbies or recreational activities

  • TVs, Ipads, cellphones, laptops, and other electronics

  • Working tools

  • Furniture

  • Athletic training, gym memberships

  • Videogames, music, games

  • Sporting Events

  • Check-ups at an independent medical facility

  • Supplemental education

  • Dental expenses

  • Transportation

  • Purchase or maintenance of vehicles

  • Purchase materials for a hobby

  • Special dietary needs

  • Personal care attendant

Special Needs Trust’s funds can be used on anything except for things that can be converted into food and shelter.

Special Needs Trust must be specifically designed to supplement, not replace, government benefits. You should take into account that trust funds cannot be given directly to the special needs beneficiary but must be disbursed to third parties who provide goods and services for the use and enjoyment of the beneficiary. Misuse of trust funds, or distribution of funds directly to the disabled beneficiary, will almost certainly lead to the individual’s disqualification from government benefits.

We Can Help

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD can help you develop a Special Needs Trust to avoid situations that threaten to make your loved one ineligible for government benefits. Our attorneys have years of experience in setting up and designing Special Needs Trusts and will do everything we can to help you make the right decisions for your best legal outcome.

We will assess your legal concerns and handle your case with the attention it deserves. Contact us today at our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD provides highly-experienced legal solutions in Newport, Lincoln, Middletown, Portsmouth, Warwick, Greenwich, Kingstown, Tiverton, and the surrounding Rhode Island communities.

The Law Offices of Howe and Garside, LTD

55 Memorial Blvd. Suite 5

Newport, RI 02840