If you have a loved one who has a disability, you know how important it is to make sure that their financial future is secured. Traditionally, family members set up a Special Needs Trust, which has the benefits of providing them with money in a way that does not jeopardize their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid benefits. As the law currently stands, the Special Needs Trust establishes a specific person as a trustee in charge of your loved one’s money: by virtue of having this type of trustee in place and appropriate language within the trust, the safety net programs don’t view the assets as being in control of the beneficiary, and therefore they do not jeopardize their ability to receive these other benefits. There are some changes in Congress that have the potential of enhancing the option of putting money into a third party special needs trust as well as the creation of a (d)(4)(A) special needs trust. The knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at Bratton Scott are always watching new developments closely, and want you to know what the changes to the Special Needs Trust laws might mean for you and your loved one.
A couple of pieces of legislation that were under consideration represent updates to the ABLE Act: ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. One change that was being considered was the amount of money yearly that could be deposited into these accounts on a yearly basis up to the $100,000 limit. The proposal was to add an amount up to the federal poverty level to the current deposit limit of $14,000. That would nearly double the amount that could be saved each year; however, this bill was not passed. But an additional measure that would permit funds that had previously been deposited into a 529 college savings account for the individual to be rolled over into the ABLE account did pass and is in effect.
There are other changes for those with disabilities as well. Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act now reads that a (d)(4)(A) trusts established after December 13, 2016may be set up by the individual themselves in addition to a parent, grandparent, guardian, or court.
Having a Special Needs Trust in place is one of the most important steps you can take on behalf of a loved one with a disability. For more information, contact the experienced attorneys at Bratton Scott.