Special Needs Estate Planning Attorney
Raleigh Special Needs Planning Lawyers
When a loved one has a physical or mental disability, it’s important to plan for his or her future. If the person relies on you for guidance and support, you can take steps now to make sure his or her needs are met once you are no longer around. By planning ahead, you’ll not only help put your mind at ease; you’ll help your loved one well into the future.
At the Brady | Cobin Law Group, PLLC, our compassionate Raleigh special needs planning lawyers have more than 35 years of experience helping families prepare for the future. We know how to structure asset transfers and trusts while preserving the benefits that a person with special needs relies on. We understand the challenges of special needs planning, and we pride ourselves on providing thoughtful and strategic advice for our clients.
Special needs planning is one of the best gifts you can give to your loved one. Whether you’re starting the process or need advice on an existing plan, our law firm can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
Government Benefits for People with Special Needs
A major part of special needs planning is planning for government aid. This means understanding what programs are available and how they can assist your loved one. It also means you need to understand how inheritance and asset transfers may affect their benefits. Our Raleigh special needs planning lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of government programs so that your loved one and his or her benefits are secure.
Medicaid. Medicaid is an important government program for covering medical costs and long-term care. It provides significant care benefits to people who cannot always care for themselves. However, Medicaid recipients must have limited assets and a low income to qualify.
By planning in advance, you can make sure that your special needs loved one has access to resources while not exceeding the Medicaid requirements. This can include moving assets to special needs trusts. Special needs trusts are allowed by Medicaid and can provide specific care and benefits to the beneficiary while preserving benefits under Medicaid. A special needs trust attorney can help you determine your options for helping your loved one qualify for and maintain Medicaid benefits.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a government program that assists disabled people with the cost of food. SNAP is available to low-income households and can be given to an individual. It’s an important tool for planning for the health and well-being of a loved one with special needs.
The asset and income limits on SNAP are strict, so it’s important to understand how the benefit may be affected by any asset transfers to your loved one. Special needs trusts are subject to certain rules under SNAP, and the trust may disqualify an individual for SNAP if it doesn’t meet certain requirements. A special needs trust lawyer can help you structure any asset transfers or create trusts to make sure that your loved one is not disqualified for SNAP.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a program that provides income to people with disabilities and special needs. However, SSI requires that individuals have very low amounts of assets and very low or no income. Any planning that incorporates SSI must carefully determine any asset transfers to the person with special needs.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI provides income to individuals who have paid taxes over the years. This program is an important part of special needs planning because it provides income to people who may have become disabled later in life. SSDI benefits are based on factors such as age and the number of years worked.
Preparing a Special Needs File
When you’re doing special needs planning, there are key documents that can help you and your loved one prepare for the future. You can’t always anticipate when you’ll need these documents, so it’s important to gather the key paperwork and keep it secure. These documents include:
- Legal documents such as birth certificates, identification cards, Social Security cards, Medicare and Medicaid ID cards will be essential for you and loved one.
- Insurance information and lists of policies will help clarify what needs are covered by which policies and programs.
- Medical records and prescription information will inform caregivers and let them know how care should be structured in the future.
- Health care directives will be your voice if you or your loved one can’t communicate.
- Powers of attorney documents will tell decision makers who is authorized to act on your loved one’s behalf.
- Lists of assets and trust information will help decision makers know what resources are available.
- Guardianship documents will outline who will be responsible for your loved one’s care.
- A letter of intent detailing information about your loved one’s care will provide caretakers with important information about your wishes and your loved one’s needs.
- Contact information for health care providers and government caseworkers will also prove useful.
- Instructions for final arrangements should be included.
- Any other documentation that you think would help your loved one or caretakers should be stored in this file.
A file like this can be invaluable in a time of need. If you or your loved one cannot gather this information during an emergency, problems can arise. If you’re concerned about the future of a loved one with a disability or special needs, a lawyer can help you develop an estate plan and organize this important file.
Special Needs Planning Is a Gift for You and Your Loved One
When you do special needs planning, you’re showing that you care. At the Brady | Cobin Law Group, our dedicated Raleigh special needs planning attorneys have more than 35 years of experience helping North Carolina families prepare for their future. We make sure our clients understand government programs, special needs trusts, and how these can affect the future of loved ones with disabilities and special needs.
If you need to plan for someone with special needs, our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and resources to help. Whether you’re at the start of planning or you just need to update your plans for the future, we can help you succeed. Contact us today for a consultation.