Law Office of Stephen W. Penn and Associates

How might a first-party special needs trust benefit me?

If you have a disability, you know that it is important to have numerous benefits and government programs available to you, especially Medicaid. However, as you may also know, having significant assets may cut off your eligibility for Medicaid and other programs and benefits. What can you and other Californians do to stay eligible for Medicaid without losing your assets?

The National Law Review points out that a first-party special needs trust might be just the type of estate planning you need for your situation. With this type of trust, you use the assets from your estate to pay your monthly bills and other expenses and purchases, such as food, clothing and entertainment. A special needs trust is meant to keep you eligible for Medicaid health care benefits.

A new law that passed in December 2016 further benefits disabled people who are fully cognizant and able to make their own financial and personal decisions. Before 2016, only your parent, grandparent, legal guardian or the court could have set up a special needs trust on your behalf. As you might imagine, it could be humiliating and demeaning to be forced to have someone else make your financial decisions. The first-party special needs trust allows you to keep your independence and set up your trust planning on your own terms.

Most forms of trust administration, will planning and other types of estate planning can be complicated and necessitate careful legal counsel. Therefore, the information in this blog is not meant to substitute for legal advice.

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