Walnut Creek Special Needs Trust Litigation Attorney
When a car accident, birth injury or other personal injury leaves the injury victim with a permanent disability and a lifetime of special needs, the judge overseeing a monetary settlement may require the proceeds to be placed in a Litigation Special Needs Trust, also known as a First-Party Trust. The court may also appoint a trustee to manage the proceeds on behalf of the disabled individual. If negotiating a settlement out of court, a Litigation Special Needs Trust may still be required by one of the parties as part of the settlement. Special needs estate planning attorney Aaron Feldman of the Feldman Law Group in Walnut Creek helps clients throughout Contra Costa County establish Litigation Special Needs Trusts to help disabled individuals get the care and support they need.
A Litigation Special Needs Trust is Essential to Maintaining Eligibility for Government Benefits
A serious personal injury such as a car accident or medical malpractice may leave the victim with spinal cord paralysis, traumatic brain injury, and disabilities which impact the victim’s future regarding employment, independence, and self-care. A personal injury settlement may help pay for the costs of long-term care, but it may not be enough. Government assistance from programs such as Social Security supplemental security income (SSI) and Medi-Cal/Medicaid can provide valuable financial assistance with items such as food and housing. Unfortunately, these programs are needs-based and means-tested, and they are only available to the very poor. Money received in a personal injury settlement can put the injury victim over the eligibility threshold and unable to qualify for SSI and Medi-Cal.
Putting the money from a personal injury settlement into a litigation special needs trusts solves this problem. An irrevocable litigation special needs trust takes the money out of the injury victim’s estate, where it is no longer counted as income to the person for purposes of determining SSI and Medi-Cal eligibility. Although no longer the legal titleholder to the assets in the trust, the injury victim is the trust’s primary beneficiary, and the trust can be used to pay for needs and services that SSI and Medi-Cal don’t cover, such as education expenses, travel and entertainment, hobbies, interests and extracurricular activities. Unlike with a third-party special needs trust, however, Social Security and Medi-Cal may come after the trust for reimbursement if the beneficiary dies. An experienced special needs estate planning attorney can go over your options with you and help you determine what course of action will best meet your needs.
Help is Available with Litigation Special Needs Trusts in Walnut Creek & Contra Costa County
Whether a personal injury settlement is awarded as a lump sum, annuity or both, the funds can be deposited in a litigation special needs trust to maximize the beneficiary’s access to funds and services for the highest level of care and quality of life available. For help with a litigation special needs trust in Contra Costa County, contact the Feldman Law Group in Walnut Creek at 952-283-6691 to speak with an experienced and dedicated California special needs estate planning attorney.