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Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A. - Elder and Special Needs Attorneys. Dedicated to preserving dignity and financial security
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How a Special Needs Trust Can Protect Your Personal Injury Settlement and Medicaid Eligibility

Special needs trust application with clipboard and notepad.

Pretty much every estate plan should include a basic set of documents, including a will, revocable living trust, power of attorney, and advance directives for healthcare. Each document should be individually prepared and custom-tailored to the needs of the individual and their family. For many, additional documents are needed for a complete estate plan, notably a special needs trust. This legal instrument can be invaluable for several important reasons, including protecting the proceeds from a personal injury settlement while maintaining Medicaid eligibility.

Read on for a discussion of how a special needs trust can help achieve these laudable goals. To talk about how a special needs trust or other mechanisms can play a role in your comprehensive Florida estate plan, contact Shalloway & Shalloway in West Palm Beach to speak with an experienced elder law and estate planning attorney.

Understanding Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust is a legal arrangement designed to benefit individuals who have a disability. The primary purpose of an SNT is to manage resources while maintaining the beneficiary’s eligibility for public assistance benefits like Medicaid. In Florida, an SNT is governed by specific laws and regulations that ensure the trust is used for the beneficiary’s needs without jeopardizing their access to essential government programs.

Key Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

  1. Protection of Settlement Funds: An SNT allows personal injury settlement funds to be placed in a trust, which is not counted as a personal asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes. This setup ensures that these funds are not considered when determining Medicaid eligibility, thereby protecting both the settlement and access to vital healthcare benefits.

  2. Management of Funds: A trustee, appointed to manage the SNT, ensures that the funds are used appropriately for the beneficiary’s needs. This includes expenses like medical care, rehabilitation, personal care, and other needs not covered by government programs.

  3. Preserving Quality of Life: By having a Special Needs Trust, the beneficiary can use the settlement funds to improve their quality of life without losing critical benefits. The trust can cover additional services and support that Medicaid does not provide.

How an SNT Works with Medicaid Eligibility

Medicaid eligibility in Florida is income and asset-sensitive. Without proper planning, receiving a personal injury settlement could disqualify an individual from Medicaid benefits. An SNT solves this issue by holding the settlement funds in a way that they are not counted as personal assets.

The creation of a Special Needs Trust must comply with Florida laws. This includes:

  • The beneficiary must be under the age of 65 when the trust is established.
  • The trust must be irrevocable.
  • It should be established by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or the court.
  • Upon the beneficiary’s death, any remaining funds in the trust must be used to reimburse the state for Medicaid benefits received.

Why Choose Shalloway & Shalloway

At Shalloway & Shalloway, our commitment to estate planning and elder law uniquely positions us to assist with the intricacies of Special Needs Trusts in West Palm Beach, Florida. Our experienced attorneys understand the sensitive nature of planning for a future with a disability and are dedicated to providing personalized guidance to meet your specific needs. Clients of the firm count on us and value these aspects of our approach to their estate planning:

  • Personalized Planning: We tailor each Special Needs Trust to the individual’s unique circumstances, ensuring that their future is secure and their benefits protected.

  • Expert Guidance: Our team keeps abreast of the latest changes in Florida laws and regulations, offering expert advice to navigate the complex intersection of personal injury settlements, trusts, and Medicaid.

  • Compassionate Support: Understanding the challenges faced by families and individuals with special needs, we provide compassionate and comprehensive support throughout the process.

Contact Shalloway & Shalloway for Help With Special Needs Trusts and Estate Planning in West Palm Beach

A Special Needs Trust offers a strategic solution for protecting your personal injury settlement while preserving Medicaid eligibility. At Shalloway & Shalloway, we are committed to helping our clients in West Palm Beach navigate these challenges with expertise and care. Contact us today to discuss how a Special Needs Trust can benefit you or your loved one. For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call our office at 561-686-6200. Let Shalloway & Shalloway guide you through the process of securing a future with peace of mind.

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