If your loved one has recently suffered a lifelong disability from someone else's negligence, it's likely that you are settling or have settled a personal injury award that will help compensate you to care for your loved one over the course of their lifetime.
Taking care of such funds can be overwhelming, though, especially if your loved one is now unable to manage the funds on their own.
A disability trust set up after a personal injury settlement is one of the most practical ways to conserve resources from a settlement in order to care for a person's disability over the course of a lifetime. If the disabled person is receiving benefits from state or federal programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicare, a trust can be a way to provide for the disable person's discretionary needs without planting a large cash asset in their bank account, disqualifying them from social programs.
Besides basic provisions such as shelter and food, trusts can be used to provide for a large number of needs that the disabled person may encounter over the course of their lifetime:
· Physical Accommodation Needs: Trust funds can be used to modify homes or automobiles in order to make them user-friendly.
· Education Needs
· Non-medical companion or attendant services
· Physical Needs: Funds can be used for wheelchairs, glasses, or clothing
· Travel and Entertainment
Trusts are very flexible, but they need to be set up appropriately in order to maximize their potential. The first step is to choose a trust that meets your needs. There are several different types of trusts that can be used to preserve the money from a personal injury settlement or other funds that people may wish to gift to the disabled person.
Each one comes with a certain structure and specific restrictions:
· Supplemental Needs Trust- Set up by a third party, this trust kind of trust is used to assist a disabled person with discretionary needs
· Solo- Benefit/Disability Trust- This type of trust is set up with the personal funds of a disabled person, usually from a personal injury settlement. It can ensure eligibility for Medicaid. The money remaining at the end of a lifetime is usually paid back to the state.
· Pooled Trust-These types of trusts are managed by a nonprofit for disabled individuals and can be set up by the beneficiary or a third-party. At the end of the lifetime, remaining assets are usually used to care for other disabled individuals rather than paid back to the state.
You should talk to your attorney to see if they are familiar with how trusts work. If not, ask for a referral to an attorney specializing in wills and trusts. A familiar attorney will be able to educate you about the different types of trusts available and will help you choose the best kind for your situation.
Trusts can make sure that personal injury settlement funds or other funds that people may want to provide for a disabled person are neither squandered nor consumed by taxes. If your attorney hasn't yet recommended a trust, ask them today or seek the council of another personal injury attorney familiar with how trusts work.