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If you have a child, grandchild or other beneficiary who has special needs, those needs must be taken into account when you are doing your estate planning. At Stockton & Stern, we can create estate plans that incorporate elder care planning tools and special needs trusts that will prevent your loved one's government benefits from being denied or interrupted.

Does Your Loved One Need SSI Or Medicaid Benefits?

Individuals with special needs often benefit from public assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. It is important to be aware that the receipt of these benefits comes with certain income and asset restrictions.

If your loved one is getting these benefits and then receives an inheritance that increases his or her net worth, he or she may be disqualified from getting further public assistance. Your loved one will then need to use the assets that he or she inherited to get the care and assistance that was previously provided through government benefits. The same is true for veterans. Thankfully, a skilled attorney can use special needs trusts to preserve the inheritance for your loved one in a manner that allows him or her to continue to receive SSI, Medicaid or veterans benefits.

How Special Needs Trusts Work

All trusts are designed to hold and protect assets. When it comes to special needs planning, there are three types of trusts we commonly use: self-settled trusts, third-party trusts and pooled trusts. While there are certainly differences between these three trusts, the core idea is the same: to hold assets in excess of the amount that allows your loved one to qualify for SSI or Medicaid. In other words, the trust will own the assets, and they can be distributed to your loved one to meet supplemental needs not covered by the government benefits.

Free Initial Consultation

Our special needs trust lawyers in Leawood and Gardner work with clients throughout Kansas and Missouri. Learn more by calling 913-856-2828 or sending an email.