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Caring for an individual with special needs is both challenging and rewarding. Have you legally prepared for your special needs family member if something were to happen to you? It’s imperative to have a plan in place to ensure that your loved one will have the financial and caregiving support they need in your absence.

Our special needs planning attorneys are highly specialized in disability issues. As a leading law firm in special needs planning, SSW Law has been invited by the Utah State Bar to lecture on the specifics of planning for individuals with disabilities.

What is Special Needs Planning?

Special needs planning is a legal strategy for any person or family member with a disability diagnosed at birth, in adulthood, or caused by illness or injury.

The legal strategies used in special needs planning include:

  • Special Needs Trusts (1st and 3rd party)
  • Supplemental Needs Trust
  • Revocable Living Trusts with Supplemental Needs Trust Articles
  • SSI
  • Medicaid
  • Guardianship

Special Needs and Supplemental Needs Trusts

A special needs trust is designed to protect the assets of a loved one receiving benefits due to a mental or physical disability or payments arising from an injury that needs to be specially distributed. They are also utilized for inheritances given to disabled individuals when no prior planning has been completed. A special needs trust holds the assets that provide additional support for a person with disabilities and distributes funds without jeopardizing public benefits. Assets within the trust are not countable resources when determining eligibility for government programs.

A special needs trust is often used for parents with children who have special needs. It can also be used if you are a caregiver of an adult with a disability. The trust funds can be used for recreation, travel, education, and medical expenses not covered by Medicaid or SSI. However, it must be carefully set up to comply with federal and state rules. We ensure that the trust is successful in meeting its goals.

Supplemental needs trusts are utilized to pass assets to persons with disabilities without jeopardizing their access to public benefits. It is funded with the assets of a 3rd party (parent or grandparent) to be used to supplement the government benefits that they are or will receive. Our special needs attorneys will make sure that your funds are given to your disabled family members in a way that won’t disqualify them from their public benefits now or in the future.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

A guardian or conservator is appointed when an individual is incapacitated and can no longer handle their own affairs, medically or financially. A guardian protects your loved one’s health and well-being, and a conservator protects their finances.

If a spouse, sibling, or parent did not create a power of attorney before becoming incapacitated, you won’t be able to help them without first petitioning the court for guardianship or conservatorship status. The court must approve the petition and agree with medical evidence supporting the degree of incapacitation. Our Utah elder law firm can walk you and your family through the court process.

Beginning your estate planning early to address long-term care planning, Medicaid, and guardianship with our Utah law firm will offer more options for quality care and better facilities, and show you the way to pay for them. You’ll have peace of mind that your family is financially secure.

Our estate planning attorneys can help you and your loved ones understand estate planningMedicaid long-term care planningcrisis Medicaid planningVA planningspecial needs planning, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). With offices in Kaysville and South Jordan, our Utah law firm welcomes the opportunity to consult with new clients in Davis, Weber, Salt Lake, Utah, and surrounding counties to learn more about how we can help meet your estate planning and asset protection needs.

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