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Home » Elder Law » FAQs about special needs planning

The CDC estimates that approximately 10.3% of people living in New Jersey have a disability, and many of those people need help with their day-to-day life. Planning for the future of a loved one with special needs is an important task that requires careful thought and attention to detail.

In New Jersey, there are specific considerations to keep in mind when undertaking special needs planning. This type of planning ensures that individuals with disabilities receive the care and support they need throughout their lives, especially after their primary caregivers are no longer able to provide support.

What is special needs planning?

Special needs planning involves creating a long-term strategy to care for and support individuals with disabilities. It includes managing their financial, legal and health care needs, ensuring they continue to have a high quality of life. The goal is to secure their future while preserving their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.

Why is a special needs trust important?

A special needs trust is a legal arrangement that holds assets for the benefit of a person with disabilities. The trust allows individuals to receive financial support without losing eligibility for government benefits. Funds from the trust can pay for expenses like personal care, education, transportation and recreation.

How do you fund a special needs trust?

Individuals can fund a special needs trust through various methods, including personal savings, life insurance policies, inheritances or gifts. It is important to fund the trust adequately to meet the future needs of the individual with disabilities.

Can a special needs trust pay for housing?

A special needs trust can pay for housing. However, it is important to note that payments for housing may affect the beneficiary’s SSI benefits. The trust can cover other living expenses, such as utilities and groceries, to minimize this impact.

Who can serve as a trustee of a special needs trust?

A trustee of a special needs trust can be a family member, a friend or a professional trustee. The chosen trustee should be someone trustworthy, knowledgeable about the beneficiary’s needs and capable of managing the trust’s financial matters.

Special needs planning is an important process for families with loved ones who have disabilities. By understanding the key components, families can ensure that their loved ones are well cared for now and in the future. With thoughtful planning, individuals with special needs can lead fulfilling lives with the support they need.