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Miami Special Needs Trust Lawyer

Helping Clients with Vitally Important Special Needs Planning

Do you have a special needs child or other individual with a disability who is dependent upon you for their basic needs? What will happen to them after you are gone and can no longer care for them? This question haunts some parents and other family members with loved ones who have special needs. Thankfully, there is an estate planning tool available for this very issue.

While a will is an important part of any estate plan, leaving your special needs beneficiary an inheritance could disqualify them from certain government benefits like Medicaid and other programs. Today, we want you to consider establishing a special needs trust for your loved one with physical or developmental disabilities.

Trusts can be difficult to form for those unfamiliar with estate planning. But you don’t need to go through this alone. Help is available courtesy of experienced special needs trust attorneys, such as estate planning lawyer Pedro Armando Perez-Roura. The attorney and his highly skilled legal team have years of experience representing clients in various estate law matters, including forming special needs trusts for those concerned about their disabled loved ones.

To learn more about special needs trusts and whether such an estate plan tool would benefit your situation, please get in touch with our law firm to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is an irrevocable trust that can provide supplemental care, financial assistance, and other life-improving services that government benefits may not otherwise provide. Your special needs trust could also be created as a revocable trust. To learn more about the differences between a revocable and an irrevocable trust, please get in touch with attorney Pedro Armando Perez-Roura and his compassionate legal staff for more information.

Trust funds in a special needs trust are not considered countable assets against the estate of the beneficiary. As such, the trust does not hinder the disabled beneficiary’s ability to qualify for government needs-based programs like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), subsidized housing, and vocational rehabilitation.

Sometimes referred to as a supplemental needs trust, the special needs trust can supplement the benefits provided by government programs for which the disabled or challenged individual qualifies.

Special needs trusts can be established for children with disabilities, adult dependents with disabilities, and even a disabled spouse. To learn more, please schedule your free initial consultation today.

When is Establishing a Special Needs Trust Fund Necessary?

There isn’t a specific requirement or dollar amount that must be hit to make your special needs trust a recommended legal option for you and your loved one.

Suppose you have a disabled beneficiary or a minor child who is likely to require government benefits in the future. In that case, it may be prudent to consider the many benefits of establishing a special needs trust for that loved one. Even a relatively small amount of money could potentially go a long way towards making for a more comfortable standard of living for your surviving special needs loved one after you die.

Are There Different Types of Special Needs Trusts in Florida?

There are two primary types of special needs trust: a self-settled special needs trust and a third-party special needs trust.

First-party special needs trusts (or self-settled trusts) are created by the beneficiary, the beneficiary’s parents, or the beneficiary’s guardian. They are funded by assets, including those of the beneficiary. This type of special needs trust is irrevocable, meaning the trust assets can only be used for the beneficiary’s benefit. These trusts are useful for those who anticipate their own needs for supplementary income and government benefits into the future. There is a drawback to a self-settled special needs trust, however. If the beneficiary dies and there are any remaining assets locked within the trust, the remainder must be used to pay back the government up to the amount of the public benefits received by the beneficiary.

A third-party special needs trust (sometimes called a pooled trust) is established by someone other than the trust beneficiary to help care for the beneficiary’s special needs. A third-party trust can be revocable or irrevocable, depending upon your goals for the trust. They may also be an independent trust or part of a larger estate plan. One benefit this trust has over the other type of trust is that when the beneficiary dies if there are any remaining assets within the trust, those assets do not need to be paid back to the government.

Who Are the Parties Involved in a Special Needs Trust?

There are numerous parties involved in the creation and utilization of special needs trusts in Florida.

These parties include:

  • The beneficiary is the individual who will receive the benefits and assets of the trust.
  • The trust creator, who is commonly referred to as the grantor or settlor.
  • The trustee, who in Florida has fiduciary duties and is responsible for administering the trust.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Trustee?

A trustee is entrusted with a great deal of responsibilities and authority. As such, they are also vulnerable to personal liability if they do not uphold their fiduciary duty. Breach of fiduciary duty can result in legal consequences and their removal as trustee.

The role and responsibility of trustees include the following duties:

  • The trustee is responsible for making payments and handling the finances relevant to the trust.
  • The trustee must always follow the instructions of the trust. If the language of the trust conflicts with state or federal law, then these conflicts must be resolved.
  • The trustee must remain loyal to the beneficiaries or heirs. They must always act in the best interests of a named beneficiary. If the trustee acts in their own self-interest, they may be held liable.
  •  The trustee should not perform any actions that could endanger a beneficiary’s ability to receive government benefits. The trustee must not withdraw cash or buy gifts for the beneficiary for personal use. Funds from a special needs trust cannot be used to pay for food, utility bills, housing, mortgage payments, taxes, or trash services.

If you need assistance administering a special needs trust, trustees are encouraged to reach out to experienced estate planning attorneys for legal guidance. Please get in touch with our Miami law office for more information.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Experienced Special Needs Trusts Attorney Today

If you have a loved one with unique needs, you need to plan for the day in which you can no longer provide adequate care for them due to your own incapacitation or death. Your life insurance may not be enough. We understand that this is a difficult subject to ponder, but it must be done to plan for our loved one’s futures appropriately.

In addition to establishing guardianship, drafting a healthcare proxy document, and writing a will, you should consider a special needs trust for your disabled family member. Special needs trusts can help provide life-sustaining assistance for education, medical care, and long-term care without risking Medicaid eligibility or eligibility for other government programs.

If you want to form a special needs trust for your disabled dependent, please schedule a free case review with our Miami law firm today. You may contact us at 305-570-3259.