The best way to ensure that a disabled family member will be provided for after you are gone is to create a Special Needs Trust (SNT). The SNT is developed to manage resources while maintaining the individual’s eligibility for public assistance benefits. How is this done? Simply put, the family leaves whatever resources it deems appropriate to the SNT, which is managed by a trustee on behalf of the person with the disability. While government agencies recognize SNTs, they have imposed some very stringent rules and regulations upon them. This is why it is vital that any family contemplating using a SNT consult a qualified estate planning or elder law attorney who is knowledgeable about SNTs and government benefits. One wrong word or phrase can make the difference between an inheritance that really benefits the person with a disability, and one that causes the person to lose access to a wide range of needed services and assistance.
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