If you have a child or loved one who is receiving—or will receive—benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs because of a disability or age, including a Special Needs Trust in your Estate Plan may provide a mechanism for leaving your loved one an inheritance or making lifetime gifts to your loved one without disqualifying them from SSI and Medicaid. Both SSI and Medicaid are available only to people with limited income and resources. The Special Needs Trust is designed to enhance the beneficiary’s quality of life without interfering with SSI and Medicaid benefits.

How does it work?
A Special Needs Trust is created and gifts are directed to the Trustee of the Special Needs Trust. Because the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust has complete discretion over disbursements and the beneficiary has no legal control over trust property, the SSI and Medicaid programs don’t consider trust assets to be a resource available to the beneficiary, and trust assets don’t interfere with the beneficiary’s eligibility for those programs.
There are two types of Special Needs Trusts: Self-settled Special Needs Trusts and Third Party Special Needs Trusts. It is important that you determine the correct type of Special Needs Trust for your situation.

Each individual’s estate planning needs are different and needs to be reviewed to determine the best plan to address your needs and this article only provides a brief, general introduction. For more detailed information and to discuss your specific case, call us today at (678)781-9230 or email us at sgrissom@grissomlawfirm.com to schedule an appointment.