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Key planning tool for some PA parents: the special needs trust

On Behalf of | Oct 1, 2019 | Estate Planning

Parents across Pennsylvania love their children, without regard to the personal attributes and abilities that set them apart. One son or daughter might be blessed by outsized abilities in multiple areas. Another might face mental and/or physical disabilities that spell material and lifelong challenges. When it comes to parental love, such distinctions are irrelevant.

Obviously, though, these differences can be important from a practical standpoint. Moreover, they pose difficult questions for parents searching for ways to ensure that a less-advantaged child will be adequately protected and always cared for in future years.

Those self-posed queries can be many and complex for parents and might include the following: How can we ensure our special needs child who lacks the capacity to personally manage finances will remain financially solvent after we are gone? How can we optimally select a trusted individual to act in ways that routinely promote our loved one’s interests, and what steps are required to legally appoint such a person? Will any funds we set aside for our child be sheltered from creditors? Will the availability of assets yield a corresponding loss in eligible government benefits being received?

Candidly, those questions can cumulatively overwhelm concerned parents. Is there a legal tool they can utilize to promote key aims concerning a disabled child both presently and in the future?

Indeed, there is, and proven estate planning attorneys routinely help parents and their offspring employ it to maximum advantage. We describe it immediately below.

The many key benefits linked with special needs trusts

Many Pennsylvania parents are greatly buoyed when learning of the many and strong advantages conferred by tailored and well-drafted special needs trusts. Those centrally include these positives:

  • Continued retention of key government benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and subsidized housing), which will not be impacted through the accumulation and disbursement of trust funds
  • Inherited assets go into the trust and garner protection
  • Creditor claims (including adverse legal judgments) cannot look to trust for payment
  • Trustee can procure necessities for the trust beneficiary without having them deemed income

Those bullet-point inclusions spotlight just a representative sampling of many other key benefits that can result from a special needs trust.

An in-depth overview of such trusts (accessed via the above-provided link) duly notes that the “many different requirements and details” linked with those legal instruments merit the close scrutiny and drafting involvement of experienced estate planning attorneys.

We routinely attend to that task with passion and diligence at the Erie Quinn Law Firm. Our firm has proudly served Pennsylvania families for over a century, with estate planning and administration being a mainstay practice area of our deep legal team.

We welcome contacts to the firm at 814-806-2518 concerning an estate planning challenge/opportunity or other legal matter.

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