Special Needs Trust

Discuss Creating a Special Needs Trust with an Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer

If you have an incompetent or disabled dependent, you may be concerned about how to care for him or her when you are gone. You may have thought of simply leaving money to your loved one, or perhaps you have contemplated transferring the funds to a relative with instructions for how to use the money for your dependent. These options, however, have many significant drawbacks. The most secure method of providing for your child's future and ensuring that he or she can enjoy the benefits of what you have to give after you have passed is the creation of a special needs trust. We can discuss your loved one's future and the best possible way to make sure he or she lives a comfortable life once you are gone.

Our Orange County estate planning attorneys can walk you through the details, review other governmental benefits (SSI or Medicaid) your loved one may be receiving, and help you find ways to maximize the funding in a special needs trust. We can also help you with tax planning issues and decide the right person to be a trustee based on his or her qualifications, personality, and relationship with your loved one. Our team provides comprehensive planning to protect your loved one.

The Dangers of Not Having a Special Needs Trust

You can give the funds to a relative with the expectation that the relative will care for the dependent. This may seem efficient and workable but there are dangers. The relative would have no legal obligation to care for the dependent and might choose not to. The relative may also be sued and lose the money to creditors. Finally the relative might die leaving your funds to one of his or her heirs.

You might also give the funds directly to your dependent. Aside from concerns about the dependent's capacity to manage money, this would almost certainly make the dependent ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. As a result, the trust fund would end up being used for rent and food, something which SSI could be providing.

The special needs trust avoids these difficulties. The money belongs to the trust, not to the relative. It is thus secure from the relative's creditors and does not pass into his or her inheritable estate. Not belonging to the dependent either, it does not interfere with the dependent's eligibility for SSI and other public assistance benefits. The SSI benefits can thus provide for the dependent's basic expenses while your funds are used for special expenses such as dental work, summer camp or other eligible expenses.

How Funds in a Special Needs Trust Can Be Spent

The money in a special needs trust can be spent on:

  • Food
  • Restaurant meals
  • Rental or mortgage payments
  • Utility bills
  • Housekeeping expenses
  • Clothing
  • Personal items
  • Recreational activities or entertainment

Speak to a Orange County Estate Planning Lawyer

At P. Arnsen Blakely, our attorney has been serving the people of Orange County as a firm for more than 40 years, and he is ready to put his experience to work for you in developing your own estate plan. When you come to our office for a free consultation, our Orange County trust attorney will take the time to listen to your concerns about your ability to provide for your loved one in the future, and will be ready to answer your questions about special needs trusts and other estate planning instruments. Fill out our free case evaluation form now to get started on the process.

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Have questions? We offer a free initial consultation. Send us a message below to get started.

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Orange County Estate Planning Attorney

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P. Arnsen Blakely
Orange County Estate Planning Attorney
1111 Bayside Drive, Suite 228,
Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Local Phone: 949.220.2492
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