Many clients visit our office planning to grant a lump sum to their dependents through a Will or Trust. However, if the beneficiary receives public assistance benefits, receiving an outright gift may put his or her benefits in jeopardy. Large payments of money can cause the recipient to lose his or her public assistance benefits including Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California), subsidized housing, and Supplemental Social Security Income. This can prove disastrous especially if the beneficiary is unable to manage assets on his or her own.
A special needs trust performs two objectives. One, it assures your assets continue to support your loved one. By covering costs of the beneficiary’s special needs, the proceeds last longer so support continues in the long term. This also helps beneficiaries who lack the mental capacity to manage assets so this property is not squandered.
Second, property held in a special needs trust is not counted as a resource to the beneficiary and therefore allows the beneficiary to benefit from the trust property without losing access to his or her public assistance benefits. Preserving the beneficiary’s eligibility for public assistance benefits may be important to provide for the beneficiary’s support, income, and medical care.
If you are concerned about the long term support of a dependent adult child or other relative, visiting the Law Office of Julia Perkins can put your mind at ease. We are located in La Mesa, California and serve clients throughout San Diego County. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.