Estate planning is not an easy task. It requires that you ponder inheritance questions, end-of-life decisions and more. When you have a loved one with special needs, the process becomes emotionally taxing and difficult. There is a special type of trust for these circumstances, which is called a special needs trust. Oklahoma residents need to understand the benefits of special needs trusts before moving forward with setting one up.
To begin, individuals who have disabilities often qualify for assistance from the government. This includes things like Medicaid, subsidized housing and Supplemental Security Income. When parents or loved ones leave assets to their disabled heirs via a will, it can result in them acquiring a lump sum of money. This could potentially disqualify them for government-backed programs. A special needs trust avoids this.
A special needs trust is also beneficial over a will in that it can help avoid probate. Probate is a lengthy process that can takes month or even years to fully resolve. The longer the process takes, the more expensive it becomes, which leaves your special needs loved one with less than you initially intended.
As you can see, a special needs trust can be particularly advantageous if you are leaving your assets to a disabled loved one, especially if they receive government benefits. You will need to name a trustee that will manage the trust and purchase the things that your disabled loved one needs. This can include home health care, physical therapy, medical treatment, education expenses, even vacations and recreation. For more information on how a special needs trusts may benefit you and how to begin creating one, speak to an Oklahoma legal professional.
Source: FindLaw, "Special Needs Trusts FAQ's", Accessed on Jan. 13, 2016