Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Planning is language within your current living trust or a stand-alone trust that specifically leaves instructions and distributions for someone in your family that has a disability.

If you have a beneficiary with special needs and you would like to provide special provisions to provide for them, you will need a Special Needs Trust.

You may need a Special Needs Trust if you:

  • Have a dependent or beneficiary with special needs.
  • Need special planning for someone who is receiving public assistance benefits.
  • Have a child or family member that will need specific care should something happen to you.

Contact us for your Special Planning needs.

We are here to help you protect the things you care about most. If you have a loved one with special needs, you will need to have special needs planning in your estate planning documents.

How do we help the Special Needs Person?

Special Needs Law is a specialized area of law that involves representing, counseling, and assisting people with disabilities and their families in connection with a variety of legal issues, from disability planning to mental health, with primary emphasis on promoting the highest quality of life for the individuals. At Copenbarger & Copenbarger we will address the Special Needs Person’s perspective from a holistic viewpoint by discussing legal, medical, financial, social, and family issues.

We use a variety of legal tools and techniques to meet the goals and objectives of the Special Needs Person and their family. We typically work with other professionals in various fields to provide the Special Needs Person’s family with quality service and ensure their needs are met.

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) allows a person with disabilities to maintain his or her eligibility for public benefit assistance, even though they may have assets that would otherwise make them not eligible for the benefits. There are two types of SNTs; First Party and Third Party funded.

First Party

First party SNTs are funded with assets that belong to the trust beneficiary or to which the beneficiary was legally entitled (e.g., assets from an award or settlement, etc.). These trusts must include federal and state provisions, which require notice and payback to the State upon the death of the trust beneficiary or earlier termination of the trust. The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is required to recover up to an amount equal to the total medical assistance paid by Medi-Cal on the trust beneficiary’s behalf. 

 First party SNTs are classified as either (d)(4)(A) SNTs which are established under 42 USC 1396p(d)(4)(A) or Pooled SNTs established under 42 USC 1396p(d)(4)(C):

  • A (d)(4)(A) SNT can only be established for a disabled individual under the age of 65.
  • A Pooled Trust can be established for a disabled individual of any age and must be established and managed by a non-profit association.  A separate account is maintained for each beneficiary, but funds are “pooled” together for investment purposes.

Third Party funded

Third party SNTs are funded with assets belonging to a person other than the trust beneficiary, and to which the beneficiary never had possession or legal interest.  Third party trusts are not subject to recovery by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

We address general estate planning issues making sure the right estate plan is in place; select and design the type of Special Needs Trust that will ensure that assets and benefits left to enhance the Special Needs Person standard of living is protected. We will also discuss the appropriate type of care, coordinating private and public resources to finance the cost of care, and working to ensure the Special Needs Person’s right to quality care are all part of their Special Needs Plan.

Why Copenbarger & Copenbarger LLP?

The process of making sure you have the legal protections in place. To make sure you your family, and your financial resources are properly protected. This requires you to help the attorney determine what are the most important areas of your life to secure. It involves asking the what if questions of life. What if I become disabled, what if I did, what if my spouse becomes disabled, what if they die, what if my children are unable to take care of themselves when I become disabled or die.