Can I Establish a Supplemental Needs Trust for My Surviving Spouse?

Posted on: Jan 26, 2017

You can establish a supplemental needs trust for your spouse or child in order to provide for him or her following your death. Where you family member must rely on government benefits programs, such as Medicaid and Supplement Security Income (SSI), giving funds directly to that person will disqualify him or her from these programs. Medicaid has significant income and resource limits when it comes to Long-Term Care coverage. Likewise, SSI has income and resource limits.
Fortunately, a supplemental needs trust is a way that you can provide financial support to your spouse or family member without adversely affecting their entitlement to government benefits. Through your Will, upon your death, money is placed into a trust that is administered by a trustee you select. Your spouse does not have the legal right to demand that money be paid to him or her from the trust; however, the trustee has the discretion to use the money to pay for items that public benefits programs do not cover by directly paying those bills out of the trust funds. This is way that you can supplement the support that your spouse is receiving from benefits programs without causing disqualification from them. Furthermore, if something occurs that causes your spouse to lose benefits, the trust assets will be there to provide any financial support that the spouse needs.
Supplemental needs trusts can be an important means of providing financial support to a disabled loved one without jeopardizing eligibility for the government benefits that they need to survive, such as Medicaid or SSI. Determining whether a special needs trust is right for you and your situation can be a complex decision based on a number of different factors. Our elder law attorneys are skilled and knowledgeable about special needs trusts and all other kinds of Estate Planning vehicles that may be suitable for your situation. To find out more information about what Estate Planning options that are available to you, contact the Washington asset protection lawyers of Elder Law Group PLLC today.