Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust Attorney in Orange County

Irvine Lawyers for Parents of Special Needs Children

Parents of special needs children are constantly struggling with the crucial questions: Who will take care of my child if I pass away tomorrow? How will my child survive without me? Will my child be financially stable once I die? Will my child continue to receive government benefits if he or she inherits funds from a family relative?

The same questions arise when a person with special needs comes into a large asset, like a life insurance policy or personal injury award. How will those funds be managed while still allowing the beneficiary access to public assistance?

The special needs trust attorneys in Orange County at Mortensen & Reinheimer, PC have 75 years of combined experience handling these types of cases. We put your interests first and help you feel more at ease.

Call (714) 384-6053 or contact online for a special needs trust attorneys in Orange County!

Benefits of Establishing a Special Needs Trust

One way to alleviate many of these and other concerns is to execute a Special Needs Trust, or SNT. With this Trust, parents can appoint an individual(s) as Trustee to manage their child’s finances. This will allow the children to maintain their specific needs and continue living like they’re used to. For that matter, the children’s future will be secured, offering the parents peace of mind, comfort, and hope.

The purpose of an SNT is to allow a disabled person to remain eligible for public benefits while also benefiting from private assets that might otherwise render them ineligible for assistance. In other words, it allows people to access SSI, public healthcare, and other services while also having private assets.

Public benefits include: 

  • Social Security Income (“SSI”)
  • Medi-Cal
  • In-Home Supportive Services (“IHSS”)

A Special Needs Trust will also prevent creditors from reaching into funds belonging to the children, which serves to further protect them.

Third-Party Special Needs Trusts vs. First-Party Special Needs Trusts

The distinction between third-party and first-party SNTs is how each is funded. Third-party SNTs are funded by a third party—typically a parent or relative of the beneficiary. The SNT then becomes the repository of money and property through the third party’s estate plan. A third-party SNT contains assets that have never been owned by the beneficiary, nor does the beneficiary have direct access to these funds.

First-party SNTs are funded by the property of a person with special needs. Any high-value assets a person with special needs might have—personal injury settlement, retirement fund, life insurance police, or an inheritance—goes into the SNT to provide for their needs. The disadvantage of first-party Special Needs Trusts is that the beneficiary will be ineligible for government assistance for the period between taking ownership of their assets and the creation of the SNT. This could cost them a sizable amount of their assets outright.

In most cases, our Orange County Special Needs Trust attorneys would recommend setting up a third-party SNT while the asset owners are still alive. That way, the SNT is already set up and providing for the beneficiary with no financial downside or additional costs. The untimely death of the trust owner would not interrupt the provision of benefits.

Explore Your Options Around Special Needs Trusts in Orange County

The rules for Special Needs Trusts means a mistake or delay in creating an SNT could rob your loved one of vital services. If you’re not sure whether an SNT is the right move (or how to initiate setting one up), speak with our firm as soon as possible. We can discuss your options while helping you craft the right solution for your family and their future.

Speak with us today at (714) 384-6053 at your earliest convenience.

Client Testimonials

See How We've Helped Our Past Clients

We are in the business of helping families just like yours plan for the future in the most sensible and beneficial ways possible, and we are proud to have been successful in that effort. Read the testimonials of our previous clients to understand what it's like to work with our Orange County estate planning attorneys.

  • “I want to thank you both very much for all that you did.”

    - Tony L.
  • “Ms. Reinheimer's excellence in these areas is clearly apparent.”

    - Susan B.
  • “I'm extremely happy with the advice and resultant estate plans provided.”

    - Annette F.

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