A special needs trust can be an important component of an estate plan for people in Florida who want to help support a loved one with special needs. People who are getting Medicaid or Supplementary Security Income benefits can only own a small amount in assets or they become ineligible for them. Placing assets in a trust can prevent this from happening.
Trusts are managed by one or more trustees. The trustee is in charge of managing, investing and disbursing as well as reporting to any relevant agencies. Some people may want to appoint an advocate as well. This is a person who is familiar with the needs of the beneficiary and the wishes of the person who created the trust.
There is another type of trust for individuals with special needs, a pooled disability trust. These are self-funded by the person who has special needs. Usually, this type of trust is created when the person receives a settlement in a legal case or gets an inheritance that was not placed in a special needs trust. There is a very short time period in which to create the trust in order to retain access to government benefits. An attorney can help individuals set up either type of trust, and both trusts can be used for a variety of expenses.
Trusts have other uses as well as part of an overall estate plan. Some people prefer to use trusts because they allow assets to pass directly to beneficiaries without going through probate. There are costs associated with both trusts and probate, so people may want to consult an attorney to discuss this which would work best in their situation. Another possible advantage of a trust is that it is private, unlike the probate process. Trusts can protect assets from creditors and irresponsible beneficiaries.