While it is important for every family to have an estate plan in place, it’s especially important when you are the caregiver or a family member of someone with special needs.
You have worked hard your entire life, and you want to make sure that your estate is handled according to your wishes. At this juncture, you may wish to protect your loved one and would like to feel comfortable in the knowledge you’ve done everything possible to secure their future. Unfortunately, our probate system can take a long time, and settling an estate can be an expensive process. This process can eat away at the legacy you are leaving for your loved family members, particularly those with special needs, as they may rely on the funds for their care.
For over twenty years, The Matus Law Group has been offering estate planning and elder law guidance to special families to help ensure the care of their loved ones in the event of their death. Although an attorney is not required to prepare a special needs trust, it is always a good idea to understand the financial implications and get trusted legal advice.
As an experienced team of special needs lawyers, we help families understand the best ways to protect their assets. Attorney Christine Matus (a special needs parent herself) and her law group, are here to help protect your family’s future today. Call now to make an appointment and discuss special needs planning (732) 281-0060 .
We Are Here To Help
Attorney Christine Matus (a special needs parent herself) and the entire team at Matus Law Group are here to help protect your family’s future today
Call now to make an appointment and discuss special needs planning (732) 281-0060.
If you provide for a special family member, you are probably concerned about how that individual will be taken care of upon your death. There are so many things to consider and the entire process can be overwhelming. This is important when the advice and guidance of a special needs attorney in New Jersey.
Leaving money without the benefit of a trust to a disabled family member may cause them to lose public assistance and government benefits. This is because of eligibility assistance hinges on income and assets. One way to help provide for a disabled family member without a loss of benefits is through a special needs trust.
You can fund a trust for your family member’s needs without disqualifying them from the other public services and benefits that they rely on. A special needs trust will allow the surviving family member to:
Keep their government benefits through Social Security for supplemental security income, and Medicaid.
Pay for personal need items that are not covered by these benefits
Pay for medical professionals, therapists, dentists, and other professionals that are not covered by other benefits or who do not accept public benefits.
It’s important to note that an individual who is able to collect medicare or SSDI may not need a special needs trust since these government programs don’t base eligibility on the amount of money or assets that they have. But before making any decisions, its best to talk to an experienced special needs lawyer. The Matus Law Group is always here to help answer your questions – if you are looking for special needs planning, allow us to help. Call today (732) 281-0060.
Today, the terms “special needs trust” and “supplemental needs trust” are often used interchangeably. Although they are similar in intent – to set aside funds for the benefit of a disabled person – you should be aware of some important differences.
A supplemental needs trust refers to a trust that is funded by a third party. In the event of the death of the disabled individual, there is no payback required for government programs that the disabled individual used throughout his or her life.
A special needs fund typically refers to a trust that is funded by assets already owned by the special needs individual. After the death of the beneficiary, the government will require the trust to pay back any expenses paid on his or her behalf over the course of their lifetime.
Having a special needs trust in place ensures that your disabled family member has access to assets that help enhance the quality of his or her life while maintaining eligibility for programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. While these public benefits are essential, they are not extensive.
Special needs trusts can provide a better life not only for individuals who have a permanent immediate need but also for those who have temporary needs or who anticipate that they will have future disabilities. In the case that the beneficiary is sued for any reason, a special needs trust cannot be subject to any judgment and cannot be touched.
When establishing a special needs trust as part of your estate planning, certain things must be considered.
The New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services requires that only certain people or entities may establish a special needs trust.
The age of the beneficiary should be considered. A special needs trust must be established and funded before the beneficiary reaches the age of 65. In the case where the beneficiary is a child, the State of New Jersey may require that the trustee sign a bond to protect the funds until the beneficiary reaches the age of adulthood. The trustee must also provide a detailed annual accounting to DMAHS to ensure that the funds are being utilized appropriately.
The choice of a trustee is a highly important matter because of the level of responsibility in the management of the assets and care for the individual. This person should have experience dealing with financial matters and should have the beneficiary’s best interests at heart at all times.
There are three types of classifications of special needs trusts in New Jersey. The classification depends on who funds the assets and how the assets are managed. Three types of trusts in New Jersey are:
This trust is established and funded with assets already belonging to the disabled individual.
This trust is established and funded with assets that belong to other family members or entities outside of the special needs individual.
Also referred to as (d)(4)(C) trusts, these are established and managed by a nonprofit organization.
It’s important to note that an individual who is able to collect medicare or SSDI may not need a special needs trust since these government programs don’t base eligibility on the amount of money or assets that they have.
Talk to an experienced special needs lawyer to discuss what kind of trust may be right for you. The Matus Law Group is always here to help answer your questions – if you are looking for special needs planning, allow us to help. Call today (732) 281-0060.
First-party and third-party special needs trusts are distinguished by the source of the assets and whether there is a payback requirement.
A first-party special needs trust is created specifically for use by the disabled party with assets that already belong to the individual. It can be established by the special needs of individual, parent, grandparent, guardian, by Power of Attorney, or by the court. If the special needs individual dies while there are still funds in the account, they may need to reimburse the state for government benefits that have been used over the individual’s lifetime. This is called a payback provision.
A third-party trust is one that is funded by assets owned by a family member or another party. The special needs individual may not have any ownership in these funds when it is established, consequently, a third-party trust cannot be established by a spouse.
Third-party trusts can be flexible as to the needs and wishes of the person funding the trust so they are extremely adaptable to traditional estate plans.
We Are Here To Help:
To decide if a first-party or a third-party is a better fit for your loved one, call to speak with Christine Matus, special needs trust attorney today (732) 281-0060.
A pooled trust is one that is established by a nonprofit organization to serve a disabled community. The funds are pooled with the assets of other disabled individuals and are invested in a common fund, with each individual maintaining their own account to use for their own economic needs. Participants each have their own sub-trust under the master trust and their own tax ID number.
A pooled trust must be managed by the nonprofit with separate accounts for every individual. Any funds remaining after the death of the individual may be kept by the nonprofit as a charitable donation.
At The Matus Law Group, we focus on providing exceptional legal advice in the areas of special needs planning, elder law, real estate law, and estate law. Special needs trusts are powerful estate planning tools for many of our clients and their families. We create these special needs trust in order to keep assets private and to protect the needs of your loved ones. With proper special needs planning, you can continue to care for your family for as long as they need it.
Supported by a dedicated team of professionals and special needs attorneys, Christine Matus, Esq. and The Matus Law Group offer a suite of services specifically designed for special needs families. Our services are administered by experienced and compassionate attorneys. Our clients are like family and we strive to build relationships with them in order to better understand their needs.
Contact us to schedule a consultation with a member of our team, so that you too can have peace of mind about your estate and the care of your loved ones.