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Long Island Special Needs Trust

Parents, siblings, and other family members of people with disabilities are understandably concerned about their care in the future. You are concerned about who will take care of your relative when you are gone, and how their care will be paid for. With careful planning using a special type of trust called a special needs trust, you can help provide for your disabled loved one well into the future. To learn more about how to plan for the financial and personal needs for your loved one with special needs, contact an experienced Long Island special needs trust attorney from the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who will review the needs of your loved one as well as your finances, and help you create a plan that address those needs.

Special needs trust

A trust is a created when you, as the trustor or grantor, for the benefit of another person, known as the beneficiary. The person manages the trust is the trustee. A trust can be set up for a variety of different reasons. For example, it is common for parents to set up trusts to hold money and other assets for the benefit of their minor children. Under Estates, Powers and Trusts Law § 7-1.12, a supplemental trust, commonly referred to as a special needs trust, is established to benefit a person, child or adult, who has a disability or chronic illness. While the statute does not list specific conditions that the beneficiaries must have, some of the common conditions that beneficiaries of special needs trust have include autism, Down’s Syndrome, chronic mental illness, cerebral palsy, blindness, quadriplegia, and dementia.

Special needs trusts are designed to benefit those suffering from disabilities who also receive government benefits that are based on their disability and on their financial status. Rules associated with such benefits require the income level of the beneficiary remain below a threshold. If the income rises above the income limit, the disabled beneficiary is a risk of losing the needed benefits. Or, the beneficiary would have to use a significant amount of assets before being eligible for government assistance.

A special needs trust allows the beneficiary to retain assets and remain eligible for benefits. For example, Joe is 25 and has cerebral palsy. He will need full-time care for the rest of his life. He has no income and receives a significant amount of government aid. His parents and extended family are concerned about making sure that Joe has the best care for the rest of his life, even after they have passed away. Joe’s wealthy uncle, Paul, wants to help out. He decided to set up a special needs trust for Joe and fund it with a significant amount of money. This allows Joe to have the benefit of the assets in the trust without losing his benefits from the government.

It is important to work with a special needs trust attorney in Long Island who has the skill and experienced to set up your special needs trust in a manner that is consistent with the law. Otherwise, you will not be able to realize the benefits associated with a special needs trust.

Use of special needs trust funds

The assets that are placed in a special needs trust cannot be used for just anything. There are very specific rules as to how those assets can be used. Examples of appropriate uses for special needs trust funds include:

  • Medical treatment and medication. Funds can be used for medical treatment and medical services that are not covered by Medicare. Examples include eye exams, hearing exams, and dental care.
  • Medical devices. Assistive devices such as hearing aids, glasses, prosthetics, and expenses for maintaining assistive devices.
  • Assistive technology. Funds from a special needs trust may also be used to pay for assistive technology such as electronic learning aids, self-help aids for eating and cooking, assistive listening devices, and mobility aids.
  • Education. Funds can be used for not only learning aids but for tuition for training and education.
  • Transportation. The purchase of a specialized mobility device or a modified vehicle can be paid for out of special needs trust funds.
  • Home Improvements. Improvement and modifications to a home such as adding ramps, adding rails, or widening doorways can be used from special needs trust funds.

Items that cannot be used from funds in a special needs trust include every day living expenses such as utilities, groceries, rent or mortgage payments, or property taxes. Furthermore, the trustee must take care in how he or she pays for such expenses. For example, instead of giving the money for an expense to the beneficiary, the money should be paid directly to the vendor. To ensure that you remain in compliance with the rules associated with maintaining a special needs trust, contact a special needs trust attorney in Long Island.

Terminating a special needs trust

A special needs trust terminates when the beneficiary’s condition improve such that she or he no longer qualifies as being disabled, the beneficiary passes away, there are no more assets in the trust.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have a disabled loved one, a special needs trust is but one strategy to consider when planning for the future. Discuss the other needs for your family with a special needs trust attorney serving Long Island at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have significant experience representing clients in complex estate matters including setting up trusts, wills, and other documents needed to meet the long term needs of you and your loved ones. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Bronx, and Westchester County.

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