Special needs trusts are set up to stipulate provisions for how people with disabilities will receive and manage funds. If you have a loved one with special needs, you might consider setting up this kind of trust to help support them after you pass away. Although it may not seem intuitive, if you leave money directly to a person with special needs, it will likely keep them from qualifying for government benefits in Los Angeles and most other parts of the United States. Instead, hiring a qualified lawyer to help you put money in a special needs trust allows you to improve your loved one's standard of life without endangering their eligibility for benefits. For those who have yet to set one up, or if the person handling the power of attorney or trust is incapable or dishonest, a conservatorship may become necessary.
Alternately, conservatorships are sometimes established ahead of time as the preferable option for impaired adults, elders, people who are developmentally disabled, or the victims of an illness or accident. Alice A. Salvo, a special needs trust and conservatorship attorney, knows what you are dealing with as you navigate the difficulties involved with having a disabled loved one in the Los Angeles area.
Most people do not establish these types of trusts, most likely because it is difficult to think about becoming mentally or physically incapacitated. But it does happen, especially to senior citizens over 75 years of age. Each and every attorney at Alice A. Salvo's Office is prepared and equipped to help you with all the steps necessary to either avoid or establish a conservatorship, dependant on your unique situation and your personal needs.
If you choose to establish a conservatorship it will involve several steps in a court of law. The Conservator is required to make decisions on behalf of the Conservatee in a fiduciary capacity whenever the Conservatee is unable to make decisions for him or herself. These arrangements must be made while the person possesses full mental capacity. Some people who are worried about possible future mental and physical incapacity may avoid conservatorships and instead decide to establish a power of attorney or a special needs trust, in part so they can avoid the court involvement. In Los Angeles, courts do not routinely monitor powers of attorney or trusts. You simply choose an individual or an institution to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated.
Our special needs trust planning offers a better quality of life for persons with special needs. Consider Sally, a mother of a 25 year old girl and John her 28 year old autistic son with a terminal illness. Sally was concerned what would happen once she died. Her son survived on SSI, Supplemental Security Income benefits. Our lawyer prepared a SNT, Special Needs Trust, to benefit her son. Included in the SNT were provisions that allow John to continue to keep his SSI benefits and be a beneficiary of Sally's estate through the SNT. Sally's daughter was the Trustee of the SNT and would be able to pay for John's bills on items including products that SSI would not handle. This was tremendously helpful for Sally and her family.