Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Those of us who are parents to a child or an adult with disabilities needs to have a Special Needs Trust. Most individuals have a will and a Life Insurance Policy. However, we need to take extra measures to make sure our children do not lose out on their government benefits due to an inheritance and to make sure that they are cared for and receive assistance in all areas of need.
With tax season here and families planning what to do with their refund now is the time to look further into Special Needs Trusts. I received something in the mail a few months ago from Security Financial in Mission Viejo, California. I was given the price of $1189 for a Special Needs Trusts on February 1, 2007. They will be calling me back in March. I was told that this would be a revocable trust at no extra cost to me. Since the company is located here in California I asked about using the Regional Center as a trustee for my Trust.
"Regional centers are nonprofit private corporations that contract with the Department of Developmental Services to provide or coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. They have offices throughout California to provide a local resource to help find and access the many services available to individuals and their families."
The person I spoke to had no idea what the Regional Center was. He was more interested in knowing when I would be expecting my income tax refund. Legal Zoom.com is a good resource for families to prepare Living Wills, Trusts, Power of Attorney and other legal documents that would be sent to your residence.
Here are some of the resources I have located and found to be worthwhile to peruse and print out for future reference. There is no time like the present to start preparing for these issues and get the documents in order.
Wrightslaw explains that there are two types of Special Needs Trusts - Third Party and Self-Settled. "A Special Needs Trust manages resources while also maintaining the child's eligibility for public assistance benefits." Their site includes articles elsewhere on the subject of financial planning.
Law Free Advice gives an overview of fourteen types of trusts. Their site has a wealth of information on estate planning.
nine costly mistakes to avoid when planning for a special needs child - CSUN 2006 presentation by Diedre Wachbrit, Esq. on Special Needs Trusts as a viable legal AT remedy for ensuring quality of life and essential benefits to persons with disabilities.
Life advice about Planning for Your Child or Other Dependent with Special Needs - was produced by the MetLife Consumer Education Center and reviewed by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Exceptional Parent Magazine.
Conservatorships & Guardianships This is from Alameda Law Group, located in San Jose, CA. The site also has an estate planning worksheet in pdf format. Information at the site includes Medi-Cal planning for Alzheimer's patients.
Merrill Lynch Special Needs Financial Services. There is also The Merrill Lynch Special Needs Calculator, which allows you to estimate the lump sum needed to adequately support your special needs child or loved one on a lifetime basis.
Special Needs Trust at Kid Source Online by Richard W. Fee, M.A., M.Ed. National Institute on Life Planning for Persons with Disabilities. This gives scenarios and goes over Social Security information. There is a topic on irrevocable or revocable trusts, how to fund a trust and has a worksheet for costing out expenses of the person with the disability.
Special Needs Law Firm this includes how to use a letter of intent. "A Special Needs Trust is also known as a Supplemental or Discretionary Trust." This is the Law Office of Christopher A. Poulos in West Covina, CA. They have seminars and also details on the site on supported living.
The Good Shepherd Fund "The Fund acts as trustee of special needs trusts, including "d(4)(C)" special needs trusts, for individuals with developmental disabilities and other disabling conditions, for beneficiaries living in the western United States. The Fund also acts as court-appointed conservator or guardian for individuals with developmental disabilities in Colorado, California, and Oregon."
Kids Protection Plan - Create free legal documents to name Guardians for your kids. This site was created by Alexis Martin Neely, Lawyer and Mom. Alexis guides the user through the steps. There are articles at the site including common mistakes parents make when naming Guardians.
Special Needs Answers Find an Attorney
An Estate Plan Built for Special Needs - Wall Street Journal, Oct 10, 2008
HealthCare Gift Cards
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.