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Special Needs Trusts Attorney in San Leandro, California

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust is a specific type of trust that helps avoid a situation where a beneficiary is forced to choose between receiving their inheritance and staying eligible for public benefits (usually SSI, housing assistance, Medicare, or Medi-Cal). They can also be used to help protect a beneficiary from themselves, usually when there are substance abuse concerns or other situations where a beneficiary might be harmed if they receive a large inheritance all at once.

Special Needs Trusts can also be used for people receiving a personal injury settlement if receiving a large sum of money would disqualify (or reduce) public benefits the injured person is receiving.

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A Special Needs Trust preserves a beneficiary’s public benefits by allowing the trustee to make distributions from the trust in a way that doesn’t result in money going directly to the beneficiary. Usually, this is done by buying things for the beneficiary that aren’t included in the eligibility calculations for the government benefits.

Since there are many different public benefits programs and multiple ways to qualify for each program, it is important for the trustee of a Special Needs Trust to understand what types of distributions are allowed and which can jeopardize the public benefits eligibility.