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The Importance of Special Needs Trust Language In A Will Or Trust When A Spouse Goes Onto Medicaid

special needs trust

Why Discuss a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust (SNT) is a legal arrangement that provides support and care for individuals of any age with disabilities. SNT’s can help the disabled individual qualify for programs to assist with medical and long-term care expenses. Additionally, it could help secure a monthly income stream from Social Security. This true even when the individual may have never worked.

A Special Needs Trust is designed to protect the assets of the individual with disabilities. Additionally, it does this while ensuring their government benefits are preserved.

Special Needs Trusts are very powerful planning tools. While powerful, these trusts are complex to establish and administer.

Special Needs Trusts are often messed up by having an improperly drafted document.

This is true especially, when the language is not accurate. When this happens, your loved one’s needs can be severely and adversely affected.

The clarity and accuracy of the SNT language is extremely important when there is a disabled spouse. When the non-institutionalized spouse creates a Will or estate plan prior to getting into Medicaid, it should be addressed.

Assets belonging to, or left for the benefit of, a disabled person could easily be exhausted on basic medical essentials . Therefore, leaving no funds for other necessities of life. These could include housing, food, clothing, transportation, entertainment and nonessential medical care.

A properly drafted Special Needs Trust (SNT) can allow a disabled person to qualify for some Public Assistance Programs.

Thus, allowing for a “reserve” fund for all of life’s other necessities.

Assets held in a Special Needs Trust do not go through probate, which can be a lengthy and expensive process. If you have a loved one with special needs and you think you could benefit from setting up a Special Needs Trust, give my office a call at (470) 235-7868. We will consider all of the tools and determine whether a SNT should be part of the solution to protect resources and to supplement public assistance programs. And we ensure that when we do create SNT’s the language will be accurate and indisputable.


Looking to find an experienced estate lawyer in the Georgia area who is skilled in asset protection and estate plan preparation? Shannon Pawley is an attorney in Georgia with expertise in estate planning and asset protection. Shannon can provide assistance with creating an estate plan to include making a will and how to establish a trust properly. If you have questions about asset protection or questions about making an estate plan, reach out to Shannon and she will be glad to help answer all the estate planning questions you might have!

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