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Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Planning Is 

A complex and emotional process

Our team of special needs planning attorneys in Michigan and social workers have the expertise and the sensitivity that is essential to helping families understand and plan for the future. At Longstreet Elder Law, we help clients and their loved ones who are receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), social security, Medicaid, Medicare, housing options and services through Community Mental Health and other agencies. As our team will help you understand, there is much more to planning than simply creating a special needs trust.

Our experts can also assist with questions regarding guardianships, when they are needed and when alternatives are available. A Michigan guardianship deprives an individual of their right to be accommodated and supported, it should only be used when necessary. Removing a person’s rights makes them more vulnerable, not less. For that reason, it is important to look at alternatives. 

Most people with a disability are able to take care of their own lives without a guardian. There are alternatives to guardianship that can meet the needs of an individual without going to court. Everyone is different, and what works for one situation may not work for another. If you are thinking about a guardianship or its alternatives, you should talk to an experienced attorney at our firm, Longstreet Elder Law.

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What is a Special Needs Trust?

Helping Your Loved Ones

We find many Michigan families want to leave behind an inheritance for a disabled loved one in the form of money or life insurance to make sure they are taken care of beyond just what their government assistance programs provide. However, one of the biggest risks of leaving behind an inheritance for a disabled loved one is that this money may disqualify them from receiving their much needed government assistance. To prevent being disqualified, many families set up a Special Needs Trust for their disabled beneficiary because a Michigan Special Needs Trust can collect and manage assets on behalf of your loved one without disqualifying them from their benefits.

All funds put into the Special Needs Trust must go through the trustee before it can be given to the beneficiary.  If the money goes directly to the beneficiary, the government programs may consider this as additional income. If this happens, it may damage your loved one’s ability to collect their benefits. Having the money go through the trustee is key to preventing the beneficiary from being disqualified from assistance programs.

As you can see, the trustee is really important. This is why the attorney’s at Longstreet Elder Law recommend you appoint a trustee who is responsible, competent, and trusted by your family. 

Since the disabled beneficiary can’t directly access the money in the Michigan Special Needs Trust themselves, the trustee will be responsible for using the money in the trust to supplement your loved ones benefits by paying for things like a caregiver, medical and dental expenses, physical therapy, vehicles, school, furniture, and vacations.

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Setting Up A Special Needs Trust

We Are Here To Answer Your Questions

If you are interested in creating a Michigan Special Needs Trust, it’s always best to schedule an initial consultation with a Special Needs Trust Attorney. These types of trusts are very complex and if it is improperly structured, your loved one can lose their needed benefits.

Everyone’s situation is different. At Longstreet Elder Law we will work with you and your family to provide customized answers based on your family’s specific needs. Speaking with one of our Michigan licensed professional attorneys who can help you make sure your disabled loved one is properly protected.

At Longstreet Elder Law we’ve helped many clients protect their families and accomplish their unique estate planning goals. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced Special Needs Trust Attorneys. 

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