A special needs trust provides for the eligibility of public assistance benefits of a person with a disability, such as a child with a developmental disability.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other public assistance, provided through federally and state funded programs, are considered “entitlements” and only provide for food, clothing, and shelter. In order to qualify for such public assistance, an individual is not allowed to own any assets over a very limited amount. Also, when a disabled person receives an inheritance, they may very well lose their public assistance until they “spend down” their inheritance after which they must must go through the arduous process of re-qualifying for those benefits.
A special needs trust allows for money to be set aside for the benefit of a person with a disability. The trust does not belong to the disabled person. Instead, the disabled person is named the beneficiary and can receive disbursements at the Trustee’s sole discretion. Keep in mind that a special needs trust must be irrevocable to aid in qualifying for public assistance benefits.
The Law Offices of Joseph P. Foley specializes in the preparation and implementation of special needs trusts. Our office is one of a select few in California who have the experience and expertise necessary to properly and effectively prepare this complex trust.