Many grandparents decide to include their grandchildren in their estate plan, often leaving behind a mix of heirlooms and inheritances after they pass. While gifts from grandparents are no doubt from the heart, there could be problems if one of the beneficiaries has a disability or special needs.
In short, any gifts made outright to the individual with disabilities could cause him or her to become ineligible for benefits that are necessary for his or her care, including SSI and Medi-Cal. Even modest funds left behind in a will or trust could immediately cause eligibility issues. The money that grandma or grandpa desired to help the child could actually end up causing more harm than good in the long run.
If your family has a will or trust that includes a gift like this to a special needs child or grandchild, please contact Temecula Estate Planning Lawyers immediately. Your lawyer will likely advise you to create a Special Needs Trust, which is a very specific type of trust that can hold assets for a person with disabilities. The proceeds left in this type of trust will not jeopardize the individual’s eligibility for benefits, and money in the trust can be spent on supplemental needs such as groceries, entertainment, or specialized therapies.
A Special Needs Trust is a complicated legal document that should be created by an experienced Special Needs Planning attorney. If you have questions about this type of document and how it can be used to leave resources behind to your loved one with disabilities, contact one of our Temecula Estate Planning Lawyers (800) 244-8814.