Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Planning Attorney in San Diego, CA

Most individuals spend a considerable amount of time performing end of life planning strategies. This usually includes writing up a will, setting up a trust, selecting beneficiaries that will inherit the estate, and other estate planning tasks. After death, the decedents leave behind loved ones who are unable to care for themselves. This is where special needs planning comes in. 

Special needs trusts enable the family to care for another member with disability without leaving them out of government benefits. Planning for this requires that a disabled loved one must not receive cash gifts from family members as assistance since this will render them ineligible to receive benefits. 

Rules involving special needs planning are simple and while it can be done without legal assistance, it is still recommended that families find an attorney to handle any legal issues that get in the way.

Leaving property behind to a loved one with a disability can be complicated business since doing so can leave them out of social security benefits. Learning the assets that will and will not affect their eligibility is a small step towards helping them thrive. 

Navigating wills and trusts, special needs planning, probate, elder law, and other estate planning practices can be tricky. When faced with issues in any of these fields, seek legal assistance and do not go through it alone, no matter how simple it seems. 

Get in touch with a San Diego special needs planning attorney. Attorney Vincent Casiano can help clients through the special needs planning process to obtain the most favorable outcome. 

What Is a Special Needs Trust?

Special needs planning attorney

Creating a special needs or supplemental needs trust is a way to hold assets without losing eligibility for SSI or Medicaid. In this situation, one can leave property to the special needs trust instead of directly to their loved one. Individuals also have the option to choose someone to act as trustee who will then have complete responsibility over the property. 

A major responsibility of the trustee is to manage the money on the disabled loved one’s behalf since they will not have control over money. The trust ends when the beneficiary dies or when the fund has run dry.

How Do Special Needs Trusts Work?

Setting up a special needs trust is a way to help financially support loved ones with disability or incapacity after the grantor is deceased. 

Giving cash directly to a disabled person renders them ineligible for government benefits, hence the importance of a special needs trust which allows money to be given to them while still getting government benefits. 

Here are the steps on how special needs trusts work:

  • Setting Up the Trust-The trust document must first be created and while it is recommended to skip getting legal help, creating personalized special needs trusts based on the specific situation is easier with the help of an estate lawyer. 
    The grantor places the property in the trustee’s care who is then responsible for managing the trust.
    The grantor serves as trustee until their death then they are replaced by a successor trustee.  There are rules and regulations in the trust that trustees must follow in order for the benefit of the individual with special needs or the beneficiary.
  • Finalizing And Funding The Trust–  The trust only takes effect when it has been signed and notarized. After getting the tax identification number for the trust, one can start adding cash to it through a bank account with a minimal deposit. The trust can then be funded through wills, living trusts, and other tools. 


While many say that it is not necessary to seek legal services, it is best to create a special needs plan tailor-fit to the particular situation. 

If you’re in the San Diego area,  get in touch with a special needs planning attorney to create a special needs trust suited to your circumstances. 

How Are Trust Funds Spent?

Trustees aren’t allowed to give money directly to the disabled loved one as this is grounds for ineligibility for SSI and Medicaid benefits. However, the trustee can use the assets in the trust to purchase necessities for the disabled loved one.

Special needs trust funds are used to pay for care, vacations, home improvement, education, vehicles, and long-term care purposes such as medical, dental, and physical rehabilitation.

What Properties Are Allowed in the Trust?

The trust allows any type of property to be held in it. Amongst the properties that are allowed in the special needs trust are real estate, stocks, businesses, patents, jewelry, and collections. 

The trust’s main purpose is to use the cash for the disabled beneficiary’s living expenses that aren’t covered by government benefits. The trustee has the power to sell property like cars in order to raise cash for the disabled heirs. The trustee is required to have a sound understanding of the beneficiary’s condition and personal needs before making any move involving the trust. 

If you have been named as a trustee and are in need of assistance regarding your role, get in touch with a special needs planning attorney in order to smoothen out any worries and remove all concerns. Doing so will enable you to perform your duties and give the beneficiaries the care they deserve.

How Does the Trustee Administer the Trust?

Once the trust has been funded, the trustee’s fiduciary duties begin. The trustees are responsible for using the trust funds to support the disabled heir without leaving them out of government benefits. 

Trustees are required to have a good grasp of the government eligibility process, which means being updated with laws. Trustees are also responsible for paying dues, keeping records, investing the property, and being attuned to the beneficiary’s needs. 

What Are Pooled Trusts?

Pooled trusts are useful if the grantor is unable to come up with a person eligible for serving as a trustee or if they are leaving a modest sum and do not wish to set up a special needs trust. 

Pooled trusts are special needs trusts run by non profit organizations and work by pooling and investing funds from many families. Each heir has their own account and the trustee selected by the organization spends money on their behalf. 

Seek Legal Advice from a Special Needs Planning Attorney

The best legacy that can be left behind to disabled loved ones is the security of knowing they are cared for when you have passed on. 

Special needs planning is a process that requires a more personalized touch to it in accordance to the beneficiary’s needs. 

Create a special needs trust with the help of a San Diego special needs planning attorney. 

Contact Attorney Vincent Casiano by calling Casiano Law Office. As your estate planning attorney, he can walk you through the special needs planning process and create a plan that is tailor-fit to your particular circumstances so that your disabled loved ones receive their benefits and inheritance.

Need a Comprehensive Estate Plan & Strategic Estate Litigation Attorney?

With years of experience in Elder Law and Estate Planning, San Diego estate litigation attorney Vinny Casiano helps his clients understand the pros and cons of each strategy to make the best decision for themselves and their families. Finally, he assists his clients in carrying out whatever strategy they have decided is best for them.

Got Probate or Trust Concerns? Get Help NOW!

Whether your concern is about will or trust contests, fiduciaries, or complicated estate plans, San Diego probate and trust litigation attorney Vincent Casiano is here to help. Get high-quality and personalized legal solutions that will address your needs today!

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