New Jersey Special Needs Trust Attorney - Matus Law Group

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.

At Matus Law Group, We Understand Special Needs Trusts in New Jersey

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 in NJ to help ensure the care of their loved ones in the event of their death. Although an NJ special needs trust 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 in NJ, 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. We offer two convenient locations, in Monmouth County, NJ, and Ocean County, NJ.

Call now to make an appointment and discuss special needs planning in New Jersey (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.

Why Set Up A Special Needs Trust In NJ?

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 aspects to consider and challenges to overcome when caring for a special family member. 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 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.

Special needs trusts may be funded by a variety of sources including:

  • Cash
  • Property
  • Life insurance
  • Investments
  • Retirement benefits
  • Personal injury settlements

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 in NJ 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, it’s 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 at (732) 281-0060 to schedule a consultation with a top-rated special needs trust lawyer in NJ.

What Is The Difference Between a Special Needs Trust and a Supplemental Needs Trust?

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.

Get in touch:

The Matus Law Group is always here to help answer your questions – if you are looking for special needs planning, allow us to help (732) 281-0060.

Why Does A Special Needs Person Need A Special Needs Trust?

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.

Estate Planning With A Special Needs Lawyer

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.

These are:

  • The Special Needs Individual
  • A parent
  • A grandparent
  • A legal guardian
  • The court

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. 

Our experienced attorneys can guide you in choosing the right trustee to execute your estate plan.

Please call to speak with our special needs trust lawyers in NJ today at (732) 281-0060.

Types of Special Needs Trusts in New Jersey

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:

First-party trusts

This trust is established and funded with assets already belonging to the disabled individual.

Third-party trusts

This trust is established and funded with assets that belong to other family members or entities outside of the special needs individual.

Pooled trusts

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 at (732) 281-0060.

First-Party and Third-Party Special Need Trusts in NJ

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 an individual, parent, grandparent, or 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 at (732) 281-0060.

What is a Pooled Trust In New Jersey?

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.

Choosing a Trustee

The selection of a trustee is an important part of creating Trusts. A trustee could be a person, such as a family member, or a corporate entity such as a bank, or another organization. Individual or corporate trustees are entitled to a commission and fees for their services. These fees will be applied to investment accounts and bank accounts owned by trusts in the same way they would apply to personal banking or brokerage accounts. Whether you are looking for a professional trustee or a family member to manage the trust, it is important to understand the difference between the two of them as well as the advantages and disadvantages of hiring them. 

It is important to hire a specialist who is experienced in estate planning for persons with disabilities if you are looking for a professional trustee. They can help you create a Special Needs Trust document or a sub-account within a Pooled Trust. A professional trustee monitors financial needs, prepares distributions, and hires a financial manager to invest trust assets. The trust size and projected beneficiary needs will determine the investments made. Some institutions and organizations can serve as professional trustees or provide investment management. SNTs are not always administered by all financial institutions, so make sure you check.

If you want to name a family member to be the Trustee, keep in mind to have an estate planning lawyer draft the SNT for you. Family members who are appointed as Trustees should be familiar with financial matters, willing to learn about SNTs and other public benefits rules, as well as trustworthy enough to manage the funds that have been left to your loved one. The Trustee should ensure that money is properly invested, that the funds are only used for the beneficiary’s benefit, and that the beneficiaries’ government benefits are protected. To ensure continuity in trust administration, a successor should be named in the event that the Trustee is unable or Unwilling.

Christine Matus, Top Special Needs Lawyer in New Jersey

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 trusts 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.

Call Now Button