If you have a person in your life who has a disability, your plans for the future must include making sure your loved one is cared for.  Unfortunately, many people make mistakes when they make a well-meaning attempt to provide for a loved one with special needs. The actions that you take could impact a disabled person’s access to important benefits, so it is vitally important that you work with a special needs planning lawyer if you have a loved one in your life with a disabling condition.

Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.  can provide comprehensive assistance with special needs planning. Our legal team helps parents with special needs children and other friends and relatives of individuals with disabilities. Give us a call at 775-823-9455 to talk with a Reno special needs planning lawyer about the services we can provide to you and to get answers to questions you have about special needs planning including:

Why is Special Needs Planning Important?

Special needs planning is important to ensure that you can help a relative or friend with a disability to have the highest possible quality of life.  For parents of a disabled child, this can mean making sure that a child is cared for and has a loving place to live after parents are no longer alive to provide a home.  For parents, relatives, and friends, it can mean providing a financial gift to someone with a disability so that person can have a better standard of living.

Because people with disabilities often rely heavily on government programs such as Supplemental Security Income to provide income or Medicaid to pay for costs of care, you cannot just give a financial gift to a person with special needs. If you make a gift during your lifetime or leave money in your will to a disabled person, you could cause a loss of access to means-tested benefits. Both SSI and Medicaid limit the amount of resources a person can have and still qualify for coverage, and the loss of these benefits could be devastating to someone with a disability.

There are ways you can ensure that a gift does not result in a loss of benefits, and there are steps you can take to ensure your disabled child, relative, or friend is provided for after you are gone. Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.  can help you to explore the legal tools you need to use to make a smart special needs plan.

What is Involved in Special Needs Planning?

In most cases, special needs planning involves the creation of a specific type of trust. A special needs trust is designed to allow a disabled person to receive a financial gift to enhance quality of life, without causing a loss of benefits.

Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.  can help you to create and fund this trust, which can be used to provide for extras that Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other government programs will not cover.  We also provide assistance to trustees who have been placed in charge of managing a special needs trust and who want to make sure they comply with the rules so they don’t put benefits in jeopardy.

Our Reno special needs planning lawyers can also provide help to parents in making arrangements for a disabled child to have a safe living situation and a loving guardian after the parents pass away.

Whatever your goals are for the person in your life who has special needs, we can help you to identify the types of legal tools that can allow you to achieve those plans.

How can a Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help You?

Ensuring that a disabled loved one is cared for and has the highest possible quality of life is a noble goal. You do not want your efforts to improve life for someone with special needs to actually cause a loss of benefits or other problems. You need to make sure your gifts you give and efforts you make to help have a beneficial impact now and in the future. Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. can help you.

To find out about the personalized assistance our legal team can provide with the special needs planning process, give us a call at 775-823-9455 or contact us online today. An experienced and compassionate Reno special needs planning lawyer will offer the type of personalized solutions you and your family need to ensure that a disabled person is always cared for no mater what the future brings.

supplemental needs trust in reno nevadaIf you have ever cared for a disabled individual, you are aware of all that is required to maintain proper care for them, including not only medical needs, but personal needs as well.  You may also be familiar with the need-based government assistance programs that are available, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Both of these programs determine eligibility based on income and resources.  For instance, in order to satisfy the SSI resource requirements, your assets, with exception of those that are exempt, must be valued at less than $2,000 if you are single, $3,000 if you are married.  It is critical that you establish an estate plan that addresses the future needs of a disabled love one and that protects that person’s eligibility for government benefits.  A Special Needs Trust is one type of estate planning tool available to you.

Start with a comprehensive plan.

When designing a plan for the future needs of your disabled loved one, there are many important issues to consider.  Following are just three: (1) who will be responsible for caring for that person; (2) how will assets be made available for your loved one without jeopardizing eligibility for government benefits; and (3) how do you ensure that your loved one will be cared for properly.  It is best to address these important issues now, while you still can.
The Special Needs Trust is usually an essential component in your comprehensive plan.  Like other estate planning tools, Special Needs Trusts are very complex.  Not only are there many income tax considerations, these trusts are also subject to scrutiny by the Social Security Administration, Medicaid and other state or local benefit programs, each of which may have intricate rules that must be satisfied.  It is extremely important that you consult with an estate planning attorney who is competent to handle all the issues involved.
Always consider and include instructions and provisions for personal care and the preferences of your loved one, when planning for their care.  The future caregiver may not know the personal preferences of your loved one.  You can provide that information in the form of a "Memorandum of Intent", which should then be included with your portfolio containing your living trust and other estate planning documents.  This will provide peace of mind knowing that the needs and desires of your loved one will still be met, even after you are gone.  Great care should be used when selecting a qualified Reno estate planning attorney to help create  an estate plan that involves a beneficiary with special needs.

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