At the Law Office of Heath L. Baker, we understand that planning for the future of a family member with special needs can be a daunting task. That’s why we have a team of experienced estate planning attorneys and paralegals to help with your special needs. We strive to provide professional, empathetic support to families navigating the legal system and understand that each case is unique.
Our attorney takes the time to listen to your specific situation and address your concerns to create and build a personalized plan. Our planning approach considers your loved one’s current and future needs, as well as any government benefits they may be eligible for. If you’re searching for a “special needs planning attorney near me,” look no further than Heath Baker Law.
An Overview of Special Needs Estate Planning in California
At the Law Office of Heath L Baker, we understand the importance of creating a comprehensive plan for your family member’s future. Collaborating with a special needs planning guide is an essential aspect of ensuring that your loved one is taken care of today, tomorrow, and well into the long term. Our special needs planning lawyer focuses on creating legal documents that protect the financial and emotional well-being of your loved one while also preserving their eligibility for government benefits.
What is special needs planning? To start, one key component is the use of support trusts, sometimes called Special Needs Trusts (SNTs). An SNT is a legal entity created to benefit a person with a disability. It can be used to pay for things such as education, therapy, medical expenses, and other items that will improve the quality of life for the beneficiary.
SNTs are powerful tools that can be used to provide for a loved one’s needs while ensuring they continue to receive government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. This is important because many government benefit programs have strict asset limits, and if a person with a disability has assets that exceed those limits, they will lose their benefits.
Additionally, there are two types of Special Needs Trusts: Third-Party Special Needs Trusts and Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts. Third-Party SNTs are established and funded by a third party, such as a parent, grandparent, or another relative. Self-Settled SNTs, on the other hand, are established and funded by the person with a disability themselves, usually with the help of a settlement or court award.
At the Law Office of Heath L Baker, we believe that it’s never too soon to begin planning for the future of your family member with special needs. That’s why we encourage you to reach out to our special needs planning law firm for guidance and support. We work with financial planners, insurance agents, and tax professionals to further assist you.
Special Needs Estate Planning Online Resource Center
At the Law Office of Heath L. Baker, we know the special needs estate planning process can be overwhelming and challenging at times. That’s why our special needs planning attorney has compiled a list of online resources to help you navigate the process. This list includes a variety of helpful resources:
- Social Security Resources:
- Handbook for Trustees
- Exceptional Parent online
- The Arc
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Center for Parent Information and Resources
- Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
First Party vs. Third Party Special Needs Trusts
When undertaking special needs estate planning, you’ll need to decide whether to establish a first-party or third-party SNT. Both types of trusts can be used to provide for the needs of your loved one, but there are some significant differences between the two:
- A first-party SNT (also known as a self-settled trust) is funded by a person with special needs, usually with the help of a settlement or court award. This type of trust is used to hold and manage assets that belong to the person with special needs and can pay for things like education and medical expenses. The main advantage of a first-party trust is that it allows the beneficiary to have access to funds without losing their government benefits.
- On the other hand, a third-party SNT (also known as a support trust) is established and funded by a third party, such as a parent or relative. This type of trust can be used to provide for the needs of the individuals but cannot be used to pay for things the government already provides, such as food and shelter. The main advantage of a third-party trust is that it allows a third party to have more control over the assets in the trust and how they are used to benefit the person with special needs.
Our attorney will work with you to determine which type of trust best fits your unique situation. Whether you choose a first-party or third-party SNT, our attorney will ensure your loved one’s needs are met and their government benefits eligibility is preserved.
Is a Special Needs Trust Right for Your Situation?
An SNT can be an effective tool for providing for the future of a loved one, but it’s essential to determine if it’s the right option for your specific situation. Attorney Heath Baker appreciates the nuances of each family’s circumstances and puts in the time and effort to help you determine if an SNT is the best option and, if so, which type of trust is most appropriate.
Keep in mind that an SNT is not the only solution available for providing for the future of your loved one with special needs. Other legal and financial options may be a better fit for your situation. Our family aw attorney will guide you on the best course of action.
Contact Heath Baker Law to Speak With a Special Needs Planning Attorney Today
Planning for the future of a loved one with special needs can be an emotional process that requires an in-depth understanding of the law and government benefit eligibility criteria. Don’t go it alone. Reach out to a compassionate Palm Desert special needs planning attorney with niche expertise and a dedication to your desired outcome.
Stop the search for “special needs planning near me.” If you’re ready to take the next step, get in touch to schedule a consultation. We’re here to provide you with the end-to-end guidance and support you need to secure peace of mind.