The Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

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Estate planning attorney Stephen Clemmer announces new benefits and fee schedule for a special needs trust.

Estate planning attorney, Stephen Clemmer associated with Curd, Galindo & Smith, LLP announces new fee schedules for estate planning services and the benefits of a special needs trust.

Mr. Clemmer explains how a special needs trust is essential when dealing with those who have disabled or handicapped beneficiaries.

Recently, Mr. Clemmer reported that he had a client ficticiously named John and Sonia Murphy who have three adult children. One of them, their daughter, however, has advanced multiple sclerosis, is married and has children. One of the children, who is now 18, was born with a genetic disorder that keeps his mental maturity at about the age of 5. Her husband has a very part-time job and spends most of his time attending to his wife's and child's needs. She and her son both receive public benefits in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the Social Security Administration and Medi-Cal from the State of California. Mr. Clemmer's clients, the parents of the daughter, along with the husband's parents assist them financially, but under the table: money does not go into any account because it is reportable to the IRS and the information is shared with various federal and state agencies. Balances exceeding the limits set by the rules for both SSI and Medi-Cal will jeopardize their eligibility for these benefits. The loss of Medi-Cal in particular would be catastrophic because her medical expenses exceeded the limits of her private medical insurance years ago yet the need continues to grow and their one child will need assistance forever . John and Sonia finally decide to follow the advice of their accountant and create a living trust. They devise a plan to pass their daughter's share to one of the other children and hope that he will continue to provide her and her family assistance, as they had been doing. A better way is to pass the share to the beneficiary as the heart dictates but on the condition that the share passes to a special needs or supplemental needs trust for her benefit. The share will never be in the beneficiary's name, never bear the beneficiary's Social Security number and will never be reported to any federal or state agency, because is not that beneficiary's property. As a result, the share is made available for the beneficiary's needs, following the rules of the agency providing the public benefits and allows the successor trustee to assist the special needs beneficiary.

This is a special trust provision that helps the family, the beneficiary and the actual trustor who sets up the trust to guarantee that his love ones receive the support he/she always wanted to provide.

For all your estate planning needs call Stephen Clemmer.


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Alex Galindo
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