Special Needs Planning v. Traditional Estate Planning

Last week, the NICU Grandpa from Atlanta went from comforting premature infants in a local hospital to warming hearts across the nation. A retired international marketing executive, David Deutchman didn’t exactly set out to regularly get “puked on and peed on,” but it’s quickly become a new-found joy. He told CNN that one of his [...]

Fund Your Trust. Fill Your Crust!

Creating a trust is much like baking a pie. Whether you’ve bought a pre-made crust or made your own, there is still some prep in readying it for filling. “Creating” a trust is the same as preparing a crust – you’ve given shape and form to the trust, but it’s still empty. And no one wants [...]

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS: THE WHAT, WHEN, AND HOW

We are excited to share the information below on Special Needs Planning, which was written courtesy of our guest blogger Paul who is serving as a summer law clerk at our office. What is a Special Needs Trust? My older brother is autistic and will be dependent upon my parents for the remainder of their [...]

NEW MICHIGAN LAW OFFERS ADDITIONAL SAFETY NET FOR SPECIAL-NEEDS PARENTS/GUARDIANS

A child with special needs is shopping with their parents at a local grocery store. When his parents run into friends and stop to chat, a flashy display catches his eye and he discreetly wanders toward it to get a closer look. After satisfying his curiosity, the boy turns to go back to his parents [...]

WORLD AUTISM MONTH: WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW

Throughout April, the world has been lighting up blue in recognition of World Autism Month. Universally-recognized landmarks across the globe, such as The White House, the Empire State Building, and Niagara Falls, have lit up blue in support of Autism awareness and the Light It Up Blue campaign. As the fastest-growing developmental disorder in America [...]

SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST DEFINITIONS

Special Needs Trust Definitions For most of my clients, discussing whether a Special Needs Trust is the appropriate strategy for them requires a basic understanding of some terms.  The following are the Special Needs Trust Definitions of the most common terms used. Beneficiary The beneficiary is the person whose benefits the Special Needs Trust is [...]

SSI and SSDI

SSI and SSDI: Confusing Initials I agree.  It really is confusing.  Why the government used the initials SSI and SSDI as shorthand for two of the most important government benefits is bewildering. With 26 letters in our alphabet, there were many opportunities to avoid this confusion. SSI and SSDI are two government benefits with similar [...]

SPECIAL NEEDS

When a person with special needs receives a personal injury award, it is important to consider whether the creation of a Supplement (Special) Needs Trust will benefit the individual. Consider the case of John, a 53-year-old who was seriously injured in a car accident leaving him permanently disabled.  After filing a lawsuit, John obtained a $900,000 settlement. [...]

PERMISSIBLE DISTRIBUTIONS

A Supplemental Needs Trust (frequently called a Special Needs Trust or simply an "SNT") is an important estate planning tool.  The purpose of a Supplemental Needs Trust is to safeguard certain assets (generally a settlement or an inheritance) without disqualifying the individual from eligibility for public benefits.  Understanding what are permissible distributions is critical to the [...]