Planning for Life

Beware Too Specific Language in Special Needs Trusts - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 3, 2012

ID 61410328 © Yiorgosgr | Dreamstime.comBy Harry S. Margolis

There's been a long debate among practitioners of special needs planning about how specific to make trust language governing the distributions to or on behalf of the beneficiary. The trend is to be less specific, giving the trustee wide discretionary on whether and how to make trust distributions.

There have been at least three points of view with regard to special needs trust (SNT) drafting:

  • Restrictive.  This approach is to limit distributions to only those items and purposes approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as not affecting eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  The fear is that if more general language is used, such as for the beneficiary's health and maintenance, the SSA may require that the funds be used for such purposes and consider them available to the beneficiary, rendering him ineligible for SSI, which in many states would mean the loss of Medicaid as well.

Read More

Topics: special needs planning, Estate Planning

5 Issues to Consider When Creating a Special Needs Trust - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 5, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

While day-to-day obligations can certainly get in the way, at some point as a parent of a child with special needs you will need to create a special needs trust to shelter and manage whatever you may leave the child.  This is the only safe way to make sure that the funds you leave are protected and well managed and that the child, who by then is probably an adult, can continue to qualify for vital public benefits.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Here are some of the questions you will need to consider in guiding their attorney to create the trust:

Read More

Topics: special needs planning, Estate Planning, trusts

Can I Get Help in Massachusetts with the Cost of Caring for My Parent at Home?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 27, 2011

By Patricia C. D’Agostino

The short answer to this question is, yes. In addition to providing assistance with the cost of nursing home care, MassHealth provides some assistance with the cost of care at home or otherwise referred to as "in the community." However, the assistance is supplemental as opposed to the comprehensive coverage for nursing home care and there are a variety of different programs available, so you will need to the choose the one that best fits your parents’ needs. A few of the programs available are the Personal Care Attendant, Adult Foster Care, and Community Choices.

Read More

Topics: MassHealth, special needs planning, MassHealth planning

Check the Language in Your Special Needs Trust

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 23, 2011

By Harry S. Margolis

I was recently consulted by the trustee of a special needs trust who was wondering how she could use the trust to distribute money to the beneficiary, who is her niece.  Any regular distributions would cause an increase in the niece's rent in subsidized housing.  The problem is the language of the trust which requires that

payments will not render Jane Doe ineligible for any benefits of cash, medical, housing, or other forms of assistance which Jane Doe receives or may receive as a result of any disability, handicap or needs from any state or federal government or governmental agency, from any charitable source, or from any private insurance company or other organization that may provide payments, housing, services or assistance to disabled, handicapped or needy persons and, furthermore, that such payments will not, in the Trustees' judgment, cause a reduction in any such benefits that Jane Doe receives.

Read More

Topics: trusts, special needs planning

Is Guardianship Necessary When a Child with Special Needs Turns 18?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 21, 2011

By Jeffrey A. Bloom

The law deems us to be of full legal capacity when we reach age 18, unless we’re incapacitated for some reason other than insufficient age. And we’re presumed to be competent until a court decides otherwise. So what should parents do when they have a special needs child who is about to turn 18? As with most things, there is no hard and fast rule or simple answer.

Read More

Topics: guardianship, special needs planning, Estate Planning, Legal profession

Why Lawyers Should Think Twice About Serving as Trustee

Posted by Jamie Marshall on April 28, 2011

By Harry S. Margolis

The story of a Massachusetts attorney who received a three-month suspension for failing to fulfill his duties as co-trustee of a special needs trust should serve as a cautionary tale for any attorney (or anyone else for that matter) asked to step into this role. The attorney was only two years out of law school when in 2003 a client asked him to become the independent co-trustee of a special needs trust for the benefit of the client’s son.

Read More

Topics: trusts, special needs planning, Special Needs Trust

Subscribe to New Blog Posts

Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all