If you are planning to give a financial gift of any sort to someone with special needs, you must consult with a special needs planning lawyer first. Your gift could jeopardize important access to government benefits if your gift is not structured properly. Parents and caregivers of someone with a disability can also benefit from special needs planning to make sure that the person with the disabling condition can always be kept safe and secure throughout his or her lifetime.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC provides legal representation to those who need help with special needs planning in Vermont. We will work with parents, friends, and relatives of people who have disabilities in order to take the necessary steps to provide financial security, protect access to government benefits, and secure day-to-day care. Give us a call in Vermont at 802-879-7133 or contact us online today to get personalized advice on creating your special needs plan and to get answers to questions including:
- Who should create a special needs plan in Vermont?
- What should be included in a special needs plan?
- How can a special needs planning lawyer help?
Who Should Create a Special Needs Plan?
You should speak with a special needs planning lawyer before giving any money, property, or other assets to a person who has a disabling condition. A person with special needs may be receiving Supplemental Security Income if the individual has a disability which prevents him or her from working. Medicaid may also be providing coverage for medical services or for home care or nursing care. These means-tested benefits could be lost if the person with the disability suddenly acquired substantial resources. You do not want your gift to cause a loss of access to these benefits.
A person who has a disability may also be unable to manage money and property on his own. With the help of a legal professional, you can create a plan to ensure that assets you provide are invested wisely or otherwise managed to protect the property. You can also provide specific instructions on what you want the money or property to be used for. Since you cannot give cash gifts without jeopardizing benefits, providing details on how your assets should be used to enrich the quality of life of a person with disabilities can be your best option.
Finally, if you are responsible for actually providing day-to-day care for someone with a disabling condition, you should speak with a legal professional. You never know if something unexpected will happen and cause you to pass away or to become ill or injured and unable to continue fulfilling your care-giving responsibilities. Having a plan in place ensures that loving care can be provided to the person with the disabling condition, even if you are no longer able to personally provide that care.
What Should Be Involved with Special Needs Planning?
Special needs planning for caregivers should involve naming someone who can serve as guardian and provide daily care for a person with a disability. If you are a parent or other caregiver of someone with special needs, you want to determine what will happen to your child or to your friend or relative with disabilities when you are gone. You could make arrangements with a sibling or other relative to assume the role of guardian and caregiver, but will need to make sure you have instructions for guardianship in writing.
If your primary concern is to help ensure that money is managed appropriately and that a gift you give does not cause a loss of access to government benefits, then you will likely be creating a special needs trust. A first party special needs trust can be used if the person with disabilities has assets which need to be protected or will be receiving money or property from a personal injury settlement. A third party special needs trust can be used if you will be using your own money or assets to provide for a person with a disability. An attorney can help you to follow all trust formalities.
How can a Vermont Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help?
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC provides assistance with special needs planning to clients throughout Vermont, including in Burlington, Essex Junction, Montpelier, Rutland, White River Junction, St. Johnsbury and Newport.
If you need assistance with providing care for someone with a disability or in providing financially for someone who has a disabling condition, give us a call today at 802-879-7133 or contact us online to learn how we can help you.