Allowing for Payment for Expenses While on Government Assistance
When dealing with a seriously disabled person, how you handle that person’s finances can be essential when it comes to dealing with government benefits. Too many assets, and a person can either be denied benefits in the first place or end up having them taken away. Because of this, Supplemental Needs Trusts can be set up with the help of a Long Island estate attorney which will help preserve assets or allow for loved ones to provide funding for caring for someone on Medicaid without having to worry about that person losing their benefits.
A supplemental needs trust is a trust that is set up that is meant to allow the beneficiary to receive government assistance, such as Medicaid and SSI, while still allowing for money to be spent on the beneficiaries behalf for necessities which may not be covered by Medicaid or is otherwise unaffordable. Some examples of what these kinds of trusts are meant to pay for would be building a wheelchair ramp and widening doors on a house, purchasing a vehicle with hand controls or some specialized medical treatment that Medicaid will not cover.
One of the most important aspects of a supplemental needs trust is that the beneficiary has no control over it. The beneficiary is not the one to make decisions on how the money is to be spent and the beneficiary cannot revoke the trust at a later time. In simple terms, as far as the law is concerned, the money, while being spent on the beneficiary’s behalf, does not actually belong to the beneficiary, therefore preserving the government benefits.
Usually these trusts are set up for the beneficiary by relatives to be sure that needs that are not paid for by government assistance will be provided for. In some cases, however, these trusts may be funded out of what are the beneficiary’s own assets. Two common examples of this are if there is an inheritance that was not already set up in the form of a trust or when a settlement is reached on behalf of the beneficiary in a lawsuit. Those assets could also be put in a supplemental needs trust, as long as they are treated by the same rules, i.e. where the beneficiary does not legally determine what the money is spent on or revoke the trust.
Setting up and managing such a trust on behalf of a beneficiary has many rules involved and should be done with the assistance of a Long Island estate attorney so as to not trigger any disqualifications. There are many mistakes which can be made which could have the result of costing the beneficiary their benefits. This would be the exact opposite of the reason the trust was set up. Knowing how to properly administer the trust is as important as properly setting it up in the first place. Make sure you have an experienced Long Island estate attorney on your side from the beginning to properly care for your loved one financially. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (516) 777-0647.