Do you have a child or other loved one with special needs? You might need to sit down with a special needs planning attorney to develop a strategic plan to ensure that this loved one or beneficiary has appropriate access to all necessary government resources, in addition to any assets you plan to leave behind for him or her. This type of special needs planning can make a significant difference in the life of a person with special needs, as well as those who are still around to care for them.
If your special needs loved one is already receiving public benefits, strategic planning is necessary to ensure that those benefits continue and that no unintended consequences arise. For example, assets that are received directly by a special needs individual could cause that person to lose needs-based benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid.
Tools such as supplemental needs trusts, amenities trusts, special needs trusts, or discretionary trusts can be used to avoid such unintended consequences. In fact, the purpose of a special needs trust in Michigan is to hold assets for the supplemental needs of a disabled individual without disrupting any entitlement or receipt of certain public benefits. A special needs trust is drafted so that the disabled or special needs beneficiary has no legal right to demand direct distributions from the trust. Instead, the appointed trustee has the ability to determine whether or not distributions should be made from the special needs trust for the special needs of the beneficiary.
Special needs trusts should be customized to address the individual concerns that you, your family, and your loved one with special needs may have. Therefore, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Michigan special needs trust planning lawyer today in order to discuss your planning goals.