Planning For A Loved One With Special Needs

As the parent of a special-needs child, founding attorney Gerry Kane can relate to other parents who naturally want to do the right thing for a physically, mentally or developmentally disabled dependent.

Let the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane help you explore your full range of options for providing for your loved one while protecting his or her right to government benefits. Feel free to call our Encino office at 818-905-6088 to arrange a free initial consultation with our lawyer. We're here for you.

How A Special-Needs Trust May Be The Answer You Seek

You may already know that individuals with limited financial resources typically qualify for Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits — so if you leave a lump sum of money to someone with special needs, it may raise his or her income too high to qualify for these important benefits. Yet at the same time, you don't want to leave a special-needs child completely dependent on government aid, unable to access any of the wealth that you have stored up for him or her.

The answer to this dilemma may be a special-needs trust. Such a trust is intended to provide money above and beyond anything your dependent would receive from Medicaid or SSI. The rules are complex, however, and any mistake could be costly. It pays to work with a professional who can carefully craft a trust that is appropriate for your particular situation.

Choosing The Right Trustee

It's important to choose the right person to act as your trustee. The person you pick will be responsible for distributing the trust's assets to your disabled loved one. You obviously want to choose a person who cares about your loved one as much as you do. You also want to ensure that the trustee isn't someone with a conflict of interest (i.e., someone who would benefit from not distributing the assets to the beneficiary). Finally, you will want to choose a trustee who has the time to do the job right.

If no family member fits the bill for a trustee, you can always choose a bank or trust company to fill this role.

Considering A Limited Conservatorship

In certain cases, a limited conservatorship is the best way to proceed. It gives a chosen person (the conservator) the ability to make decisions and handle affairs in a certain area of the disabled person's life. For instance, a conservator may be appointed to manage the person's finances and pay bills, make health care decisions or determine suitable places to live.

Set Up A Free Consultation To Learn More

Don't hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane to learn more about your options for providing for a loved one with special needs. Call our Encino office at 818-905-6088, or contact us by email. Evening and weekend appointments are available as needed.