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It often occurs that clients who come to Herrig & Vogt, LLP for assistance from a Roseville estate planning attorney will mention to us that they are concerned about the impact that their will or trust may have on a child's eligibility for public assistance benefits. If you have a child who is physically or mentally impaired and who cannot therefore earn an income to be self-sufficient, he or she may become eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal and other support programs when you pass away and are no longer there to provide care and support. Complicating the situation, however, is the fact that these are means-tested programs.
In other words, if you leave your child more than a certain amount in a will or in benefits through a trust, you may inadvertently disqualify him or her from being able to receive SSI or Medi-Cal. Unless you have a substantial estate and will be leaving your child enough to live comfortably while also paying for any necessary medical treatment, this could place your child in a difficult situation. Even a relatively small inheritance could bar your child from being able to receive benefits. The amount of the inheritance will not likely be enough to fully cover his or her needs, yet it could still prevent your child from receiving public benefits. Fortunately, there is a solution to this quandary.
At Herrig & Vogt, LLP, we have 24 years of experience in the field of estate planning and we have extensive knowledge and understanding of the provisions of the California Probate Code. When we take on a case involving issues such as those previously mentioned, we frequently advise the creation of a special needs trust. Simply put, a special needs trust is designed in such a way as to provide the beneficiary with as much money as possible while still preserving his or her eligibility for means-tested public benefits programs. By establishing a special needs trust, you can ensure that your child will enjoy a comfortable quality of life while also being able to receive as much as possible in terms of benefits to pay for basic living expenses and medical care.
Creating a special needs trust can be a daunting task, given the vital importance of ensuring that it is established in such a way as to ensure its success throughout the years following your passing. A Roseville probate lawyer from our firm can work closely with you to draft the necessary documents in accordance with the circumstances of your unique situation, as well as ensuring that the provisions of the trust anticipate the various types of problems that could arise. In addition to establishing the trust, it is also important to choose the right person to act as the trustee, since you need someone in whom you can have confidence that he or she will not make errors that could disqualify your child from receiving benefits or do anything to misappropriate funds from the trust.
In addition to drafting the documents for special needs trusts, we also provide knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals who have been appointed as trustees to administer special needs trusts. In this capacity, we can guide you in carrying out your duties and help you avoid errors that could lead to allegations of breach of fiduciary duty. We serve clients in Placer County, Sacramento County and El Dorado County, and we offer free case evaluations so that you can learn how we can help.
Contact us now at (888) 901-8229 to schedule an appointment.
At our law firm, our legal team brings more than 100 years of combined experience to every case. Several of us our top-rated by peers for exceptional ethics and legal ability, known for delivering client-centered counsel for any legal issue. Discover how we can be of service in a no cost, no obligation case review.