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Encino Special Needs Lawyer: The Basics of a Medi-Cal Special Needs Trust

Trust certificate

Special needs lawyers in Encino always look for the most effective ways to protect their clients’ assets, while at the same time ensuring that they get the level of care needed in order to live fulfilling lives. One of the ways Encino special needs lawyers do this is through the use of Medi-Cal Special Needs Trusts. These trusts are designed to allow individuals who need a high level of care to qualify for Medi-Cal, even if they may be over the allowable asset limit.

Medi-Cal Special Needs Trusts are used to provide for the supplemental needs of the beneficiary of the trust, meaning that the funds in the trust can be spent on things like clothing, housewares and furnishings, education, and most other things that are not directly related to the individual’s healthcare. The money put into a Medi-Cal Special Needs Trust will not disqualify the beneficiary or cause the beneficiary to be penalized by Medi-Cal as long as the trust is designed properly according to state and federal Medicaid statutes.

In order for a Medi-Cal Special Needs Trust to effectively work, it must be properly established by a qualified and experienced special needs lawyer. If the trust is set up improperly, it could cause the intended beneficiary to become ineligible for benefits and could put their assets at risk. Encino special needs attorneys urge clients who are considering setting up a Medi-Cal Special Needs Trusts to consult with them first to make sure their situation matches the need for one, and also so they don’t run the risk of having their beneficiary become disqualified from receiving benefits.

In addition, the beneficiary of a Medi-Cal Special Needs Trust must meet certain conditions in order to qualify for protection under the trust. Typically, these qualifications are:

  • Must be disabled according to Medi-Cal guidelines and under the age of 65;
  • The primary beneficiary of the trust must be California, as it is the one paying out benefits;
  • The trust has to be created by a guardian or other family members such as parents or grandparents, or in extreme cases, by a court;
  • The trust funds must only be used for the benefit of the individual receiving benefits from Medi-Cal;
  • The funds in the trust must consist of the beneficiary’s own assets and no one else’s, although assets left to the beneficiary as inheritance or received as part of a court settlement may be used.

The use of a Medi-Cal Special Needs Trust can be a huge help for individuals with special needs, but it is important that strict guidelines are followed when establishing the trust. If you have questions about Medi-Cal Special Needs Trusts, or you would like to set up a trust for a loved one with special needs, please contact us at (818) 905-6088 to set up a consultation.