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Palm Springs Special Needs Planning Attorney

Palm Springs Special Needs Planning Attorney

Estate planning is always important, but it is especially critical when you have a family member with special needs. Whether you have an offspring (child or adult), sibling, parent or other relative who has physical, cognitive, social or psychiatric challenges, you know how significant maintaining care for this individual can be. Though it may be painful to think of your special needs relative managing without you, this is necessary.

At Heritage Legal, we take your responsibility in this matter, and ours as we help you plan for the future of your special needs loved one, extremely seriously. Because of the vulnerability of these individuals, establishing special needs trusts is essential not only to protect them the assets you want to preserve for their care, but to maintain their eligibility for the government benefits they are entitled to. If you leave your special needs relative a lump sum inheritance, it will probably disqualify her or him for government benefits, possibly for a long time if not forever.

Keeping Your Special Needs Loved One Eligible for SSI and Medi-Cal

Both federal and state governments provide some medical care and money for basic necessities for individuals with special needs. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is federally funded and low income people with special needs are eligible for these benefits. Medi-Cal (California’s version of Medicaid) is fueled by both federal and state funds and is designed to supply medical care to the poor and/or disabled. While both benefits are unquestionably of some help, neither provides for extra comfort or high quality, private medical care. Because you undoubtedly want your special needs family member to have the best medical care and the most pleasant and enjoyable lifestyle possible, Heritage Legal, in Palm Springs is ready to assist you in setting up a special needs trust.

What Special Needs Trusts Accomplish

When our lead attorney, Chris Heritage, creates a special needs trust for your family member, he is establishing legal protection for that individual by placing the money out of his/her control. By putting the special needs trust under the control of a third party (the trustee), he accomplishes two things: [1] preserves assets that cannot be taxed, used to pay creditors, frittered away, or stolen through fraudulent schemes and [2] keeps money available for the trustee to use for supplements to the basic benefits provided by government benefits. This means that the trustee can, regularly or as needed, provide the special needs individual with restaurant meals, entertainment, travel expenses, special articles of clothing, and other treats that she/he would not otherwise be able to afford.

Special Needs Trusts Enrich and Enhance Quality of Life for the Person You Love

Examples of ways the money in a special needs trust can be used to improve lifestyle without interfering with eligibility for government benefits include providing for:

  • Private medical and/or dental care at an independent facility (rather than a clinic)
  • Private education and/or tutoring
  • Attendance at religious services
  • Transportation costs, including the purchase and maintenance of a vehicle
  • Materials, equipment or lessons for sports, arts, music or other recreational activities
  • Trips or vacations
  • Entertainments, such as ball games, movies, plays, restaurant meals
  • Furnishings, computers or other electronic equipment
  • Healthcare attendant or escort
  • Pets and pet care

At Heritage Legal we make sure to tie up every loose end when preparing a special needs trust. We know how important it is to create a trust that is legally binding during your lifetime and, should you predecease your family member, after your passing.

This may be especially significant if your surviving spouse remarries or takes some other action that may jeopardize your child’s (or other relative’s) financial stability. Setting up a special needs trust while you are able to do so will protect your assets, your special needs loved one, and save the rest of your family from possible complications after your death. Chris Heritage has in-depth experience in creating trusts; he will see that the process goes smoothly and fulfills all of your prerequisites.

Contact Our Palm Springs Special Needs Planning Lawyer

For many of our clients, special needs planning plays a significant role in estate planning. You may be surprised to learn that almost 20 percent of individuals in the U.S. have special needs, so if you and your family are grappling with issues surrounding a disabled relative, you are hardly alone. As you have probably realized by now, it is critical to make arrangements for those who cannot do so for themselves.

Many special needs individuals have talents that should be nurtured as well as disabilities that must be accommodated. Special needs relatives close to you depend on you to level the playing field so that they can experience the happy, productive, meaningful lives they deserve. Here at Heritage Legal, we have the comprehensive legal knowledge and deep compassion to help you make this happen. Why not call us or fill out a contact form on our website for a free consultation?


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