Special Needs Trust

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Special Needs Trust Attorney in Reston

Serving Clients Nationwide

Protecting individuals with special needs encompasses more than just physical and emotional care—it also extends to ensuring their financial safety and future well-being. Financial stability is crucial for individuals with special needs to live fulfilling lives, and it requires careful, specialized planning to address their unique circumstances. 

Zell Law offers strategic special needs trust creation and maintenance alongside a comprehensive suite of estate planning solutions tailored to safeguard the financial interests of your loved ones. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to creating bespoke plans that ensure peace of mind for the families of those with special needs. 

Call our firm today at (571) 410-3500 to speak to our legal team. 

How Does a Special Needs Trust Work?

A special needs trust offers a financial safeguard for individuals with disabilities, allowing them to maintain eligibility for essential government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), while still receiving financial support from the trust. This legal arrangement is vital for ensuring that individuals with special needs can enjoy a higher quality of life without compromising their eligibility for public assistance.

Key aspects include:

  • Preservation of Benefits: Funds held within a trust are not counted as personal assets for the beneficiary, thereby not affecting their eligibility for means-tested government benefits.
  • Flexibility in Use: Money from the trust can be used for a wide range of expenses that enhance the beneficiary’s life—including education, recreation, and healthcare needs not covered by government programs.
  • Protection and Management: A designated trustee manages the trust assets, ensuring that funds are used in the best interest of the person with special needs. 
  • For Minors and Adults: Special needs trusts can be established for individuals of any age, providing support for minors with disabilities as well as adults who are unable to manage their finances independently due to physical or mental disabilities. 

By catering to the unique needs of individuals at different stages of life, special needs trusts offer a comprehensive solution for supporting loved ones with disabilities, ensuring they can live fulfilling lives without jeopardizing their financial security or access to crucial public support services. 

How to Set Up a Special Needs Trust

Setting up this specific trust involves several critical steps, necessitating careful planning to ensure the trust operates as intended. Our legal team can walk you through each step to ensure everything is filled out effectively and all of your questions are answered.

A brief overview of the process can include:

  1. Choose the Right Type of Trust: First, it’s important to decide whether a first-party special needs trust, designed for assets belonging to the beneficiary, or a third-party special needs trust, intended for assets from family members or other benefactors, is most appropriate. Each type has specific implications for taxation and government benefit eligibility.
  2. Select a Trustee: The trustee will manage the trust’s assets and make distributions on behalf of the beneficiary. Choosing a responsible and trustworthy individual or institution is vital for the administration of the trust.
  3. Draft the Trust Document: While working with our estate planning attorneys, you will draft a legal document that outlines the terms of the trust, including the purpose, beneficiary, trustee, and specifics on disbursements. We’ll ensure that the document meets all legal requirements and best serves the beneficiary’s needs.
  4. Fund the Trust: A special needs trust must be properly funded with assets to support the beneficiary. This can include cash, securities, real estate, or other property.
  5. Maintain the Trust: Regular reviews and updates to the trust may be necessary to adapt to changes in the beneficiary’s needs, government regulations, or the financial landscape.

At Zell Law, we are honored to play a role in supporting the future of your loved ones. From guiding you in selecting the right type of trust and drafting the document to comply with state and federal laws, to advising on funding the trust appropriately, our firm is here to help.

Additionally, we can discuss whether establishing a power of attorney is a prudent step to safeguard asset distribution and decision-making—especially in scenarios where the beneficiary might lack the capacity to manage their affairs in the future. This legal instrument can be critical in ensuring that the beneficiary’s financial and health-related decisions are in trusted hands, working in tandem with the special needs trust to provide a comprehensive protection strategy. 

Call Zell Law to Speak with our Special Needs Trust Lawyers

Our special needs trust attorneys serve clients nationwide and will guide you through every stage of your journey. We understand the unique concerns of those protecting loved ones with special needs as well as the legal landscape to ensure that these documents are above board. 

Our attorneys are standing by to support you in protecting your legacy. Call us at (571) 410-3500 or reach out online to schedule a consultation. 

  • Trusts Created 3,700+
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