Florida Special Needs Trusts

by Jamy Ernst Barreau on Sep. 07, 2022

Estate Estate Planning Estate  Trusts Estate  Wills & Probate 

Summary: If you or a loved one is receiving asset or income-based government benefits, it is good to team with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to ensure that any inheritance or other assets do not get in the way of you receiving those benefits.

When dealing with loved ones with special needs, it is important to understand the relationship which exists concerning someone with special needs and his or her approved government benefits. Namely, did you know that your loved one could potentially lose their government benefits related to their special needs if they inherit directly from you? Did you know that those with special needs who win a settlement in court could potentially lose their benefits if appropriate steps are not first taken? This article will discuss how your Florida elder law attorney can assist in safeguarding assets in these instances.

Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) is a government benefit reserved for those who are disabled. Based on current, 2022 regulations, someone in need of SSI benefits will receive a total of $841 from the government a month. Generally, in order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must be (1) have a disability which prevents you from working and (2) you must have less than $2,000.00 in assets. Please note that an important part of receiving SSI benefits is that it is linked with Medicaid benefits as well.

Because there is an asset cap in connection with receiving SSI, if you are receiving SSI and wish to continue receiving it, you will need to make sure that your total assets are under $2,000.00 (with some exceptions). If you are planning on leaving an inheritance for a loved one receiving SSI benefits or if you are currently receiving SSI benefits and are coming into a sum of money, it would be important to meet with a Florida elder law attorney to give you options on how to enjoy the incoming money and continue to receive your government benefits.

For instance, your elder law attorney may recommend that a Special Needs Trust be created. A Special Needs Trust is a tool the government allows you to use to shelter any large sums of money which could potentially set you over SSI asset limitations. Furthermore, if you are a parent of a disabled child wishing to leave your child an inheritance, talk to your elder law attorney about including in your estate plan a Special Needs Trust to make sure that your child can enjoy his or her inheritance while continuing to receive the SSI benefits they need.

Barreau Legal, PLLC is a Port St. Lucie based elder law firm which has the background and knowledge to craft a solid estate plan and probate administration skills to help preserve your legacy for generations to come. Barreau Legal, PLLC would love to hold your free, virtual consultation to discuss building your Generational Wealth Plan! If you have concerns about how your assets will pass when you die or keeping your estate out of probate, please reach out to Barreau Legal, PLLC for a free consultation at 772-236-5204 or jamy@blegalfl.com.

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