Many Tallahassee residents and other Floridians have relatives that are suffering with a significant physical or mental disability whom they would like to consider in their estate planning.
For those who find themselves in this situation, one option to consider is what is called a special needs trust. In many respects, a special needs trust works like any other trust. The person creating the trust will need to appoint a trustee to handle the property in the trust as well as any income that comes from that property, like interest or dividends.
Moreover, the trust will need to name the beneficiary of the trust and give detailed instructions about how the trust is going to be managed, what property is in the trust, and the like.
What separates a special needs trust from other types of trusts is that, as its name implies, it is designed with the beneficiary’s special needs, such as physical or mental limitations, in mind. More precisely, a properly created special needs trust can work to transfer property to a loved one who has a disability without compromising that person’s eligibility for government benefits they may well need.
Simply leaving property to a disabled loved one, on the other hand, may be a very generous act, but it could also wind up being for naught if government benefits get terminated and the disabled person loses all of his or her property paying for medical and other care as a result.
Setting up a special needs trust is a complicated process, and there is little room for error as a mistake could cost a person important government benefits. For this reason, a Floridian with a disabled loved one should consider speaking with an experienced estate planning attorney about their legal options.