Serving Clients in Moss Point, Pascagoula and the Mississippi Gulf Coast


Special Needs Estate Planning focuses on providing for the special needs of our loved ones with disabilities when we are no longer there to organize and advocate on their behalf. Parents of children with special needs must make careful estate planning choices to coordinate all of the legal, financial, and special care needs of their children – both now and in the future.

An Overview of Special Needs Estate Planning

There are several types of trusts to assist with these special planning challenges. The most common types are Support Trusts and Special Needs Trusts.

  • Support Trusts:  Support Trusts require the Trustee to make distributions for the child’s support in areas like food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and educational services. Beneficiaries of Support Trusts are not eligible to receive financial assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. If your child will require SSI or Medicaid, you should avoid a Support Trust.
  • Special Needs Trusts:  For many parents, a Special Needs Trust is the most effective way to help their child with a disability. A Special Needs Trust manages resources while also maintaining the child’s eligibility for public assistance benefits.

There are two types of Special Needs Trusts:

  • Third-Party Special Needs Trust:  Created using the assets of the parent(s) as part of an estate plan; distributed by a Will or Living Trust.
  • Self-Settled Special Needs Trust: Generally created by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian using the child’s assets to fund the Trust (e.g., when the child receives a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and will require lifelong care). If assets remain in the Trust after the child’s death, a payback to the state is required, but only to the extent the child receives public assistance benefits.

Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have loved ones with disabilities for whom you wish to provide after your passing. Generally, Special Needs Trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets (like life insurance) or they can be sub-trusts in existing living trusts.

Special Needs Estate Planning Online Resource Center

Planning for your loved one with special needs requires extensive research to become a well-educated advocate. You will want to keep up-to-date on the latest medical, educational, financial, and legal changes. Perkins Law Group provides assistance to you and your family in addressing your unique concerns. We hope this Special Needs Resource Center provides you with a quick reference to find the additional resources you may need.

  • Social Security Resources:
    Benefits for Children with Special Needs
    Social Security Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool
  • Handbook for Trustees: A special needs trust can be a very powerful aid in managing care for a family member with a disability. It can provide supplemental items like therapy, respite care, dental work, companions, entertainment, education — all without interfering with the beneficiary’s SSI, Medicaid or other government programs. The special needs trust can be a flexible tool. It can also be very difficult and confusing to administer.
  • Exceptional Parent online: Online resource for the special needs community, including families, caregivers, physicians, allied health care professionals, and teachers.
  • The Arc: The Arc is a national organization of and for people with mental disabilities and related developmental disabilities and their families. The Arc works to promote and improve support and services for people with mental disabilities and their families and also fosters research into and education about the prevention of these disabilities in infants and young children.
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys: The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others who work with older clients and their families. The Academy provides information, education, networking and assistance to those who deal with the many specialized issues involved with legal services to the elderly and people with special needs.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. There are NAMI organizations in every state and in over 1,100 local communities across the country.
  • Center for Parent Information and Resources: The Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR) serves as a central resource of information and products to the community of Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers and the Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs), so that they can focus their efforts on serving families of children with disabilities. Use this interactive map to find the PTI or CPRC that serves your State or territory.
  • Annual Disability Statistics Compendium: This publication, the first Compendium, focuses on state-level statistics published by Federal agencies.

Calculating Your Loved One’s Future Financial Needs

This calculator can help you project the future expenses of an individual with special needs.

Testimonials

Mary Sue

They are courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to assist in other legal services you might know you need.  – Mary Sue

Genevieve

I would and have recommended the Perkins Law Group to family and friends in need of top notch legal advice for their Estate Planning needs. Their communications with clients and their processes are thorough, and their follow through is timely. It was a pleasure working with Matt and his team. – Genevieve

Denise

Met Matt first time from a referral of a distant family member. I was nervous, and grieving, and he made it so easy and helpful to guide and assist me and my sister’s with our Father’s estate. A Very patient and kind-hearted gentleman. Very professional and I would absolutly refer him to anyone. -With sincerity

Ruth

Matthew Perkins was the lawyer I chose to handle the settling of my daughter’s estate, and I am certainly glad I did. I had plenty of questions, and he always had an answer for me. When I contacted him or his office, I always received a timely response. He is young, energetic, intelligent, professional, and very knowledgeable. One of the things I admire most about him is that he is willing to take on new challenges. Hiring Matthew Perkins to handle this legal matter was a very wise choice. I would recommend him if you are looking for a lawyer who will take the time to sit down and explain things to you. He never left me in the dark as we went through the necessary steps to set up and then close the estate. I could not be more pleased with the professionalism that I received from Matthew Perkins. If you are in need of the services of an attorney, at least set up a consultation with him. I believe that you will be very impressed with his can-do attitude. If I need legal services in the future, Matthew Perkins is definitely the attorney that I plan to hire.

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