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Special needs trusts can help provide for long-term care

Estate planning should be a focus of every New York resident's life, but having the proper plans in place can be even more important for parents or guardians of children with special needs. Because Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income recipients cannot have more than $2,000 in assets, it can be difficult to make provisions for the long-term care of those with special needs without impacting their benefits.

One option is a special needs trust. Money in a special needs trust does not count toward the $2,000 in allowable assets, so it does not affect eligibility for government benefits. There are many options as to who can administer these types of trusts, including other family members, nonprofit organization or banks.

While many parents and guardians are preoccupied with the current responsibilities involved in taking care of special needs children, it is also important to consider long-term care. A special needs trust does not have to be funded right away. In some cases, these types of trusts are used to protect assets such as inheritances or a settlement from a personal injury suit.

A special needs trust can also be set up in many different ways, depending on the needs of the person. Some trusts have a certain amount of money that is to be used for basic expenses until the money runs out. Others may have provisions that the money is to be used for specialized care or medical equipment. One of the best things about trusts is that they can be tailored to the specific situation. While basic estate planning is essential for all, those with special needs children should research their options to ensure that everything is well laid out for the future.

Source: The Roanoke Times, "Trusts help provide for those with special needs" Alexa Welch Edlund, May. 24, 2014

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