Trusts are one of the main tools used by estate planning attorneys. Setting up a trust can help ensure that your assets go to your loved ones as efficiently as possible, and in a way that makes sense given the specific situation of the grantor and the beneficiary. When you create a trust, you are taking assets and placing them under the control of one person or entity, but for the benefit of a separate person or persons. One general benefit to trusts is that they avoid probate. Probate is the court process used to determine if a will is legitimate and to distribute a person’s assets to the beneficiaries. Because probate can be expensive and take a lot of time to complete, many people opt to create trusts that allow their loved ones to avoid probate and have immediate access to the funds and assets in question.
What is particular to a special needs trust?
A special needs trust is a trust created for the benefit of a person who has a disability or mental illness that makes them incapable of handling their own finances. The money and assets left in the trust will be managed by someone other than the beneficiary, but are only permitted to be used for the beneficiary. It might be that the trust can only be used for certain specific things, such as proving housing, food, medical care, paying a caregiver, or other related needs.
How will leaving assets in the trust impact one’s eligibility for government benefits?
Many individuals with special needs benefit from government programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. If an individual using these programs were to receive a lump sum of money, their ability to collect these benefits could be impacted. Many times though, if the assets are in a trust, and the individual does not have free use of them, the eligibility for government assistance will not be negatively impacted. The trust itself might have to make it clear that the funds are supplemental to the government benefits that the individual receives.
Who gets to decide how the assets are used?
When creating a trust, the grantor can name a trustee who can manage the funds for the beneficiary. Oftentimes, the trustee will be a trusted family member or friend who is responsible with money and capable of making the necessary decisions and arrangements to ensure that the beneficiary is getting the support they require from the trust assets. In other situations, though, the trustee can be an entity such as a bank. If the selected trustee cannot perform the duties required of him or her, a court can appoint a trustee.
If you live in South Carolina and have questions regarding how to create a special needs trust, contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm. There are many options for how to set up a trust, and your attorney will be able to explain the different possibilities to you so that you can make the best decisions for your family. Call us today at 864-982-5930 to learn more about your legal options.
The attorneys at the De Bruin Law Firm understand that estate matters are emotional and stressful. We are available to provide objective advice and guidance to our clients. To schedule a free consultation, call 864-982-5930.