Special Needs Trusts

Families who care for a child with disabilities face a number of common worries as their children approach adulthood:

  • How can we ensure our child continues to receive the best care?
  • Will the money we give to make her life easier simply make her lose the benefits that pay for her basic services?
  • If we continue to provide financial assistance, will our child be ineligible for Medicaid?
  • What if he inherits a sum from a relative or receives a valuable personal injury award?

Legal options do exist that will allow your child to have access to family funds, an inheritance, or a personal injury settlement without threatening his or her eligibility for Medicaid and other government healthcare benefits programs.

Special needs trusts are the primary legal option used to protect access to Medicaid or Medicare for a child who is mentally disabled, physically handicapped or otherwise incapacitated.

Located in Philadelphia, the Law Office of Adam S. Bernick has been helping Pennsylvania families of children and adults with disabilities set up special needs trusts since 1998. If you have questions about the use of special needs trusts, contact us to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Another Useful Legal Tool for Parents of Children With Special Needs

In addition to special needs trusts, there are other legal documents that can be critically important for parents of children with physical or mental disabilities.

While your child is a minor, you have authority over his or her financial and welfare decisions. If you become incapacitated or die, however, there will be no one with the legal authority to make those decisions unless you have created a durable power of attorney and designated a guardian in your will.

With a durable power of attorney, you designate a trusted individual to take control of your adult child's financial and health care decisions if you become unable to do so. The purpose of a guardianship is quite similar, although it involves a slightly different situation.

When your child becomes an adult, your natural legal rights as a parent disappear. It is essential to have that authority extended by a court, which is done through the guardianship process. When your child turns 18, we can help you seek financial and health care guardianship so that your legal authority continues.

Without a guardianship or durable power of attorney, your child runs the risk of becoming a ward of the court if you die or become incapacitated yourself.

Contact the Law Office of Adam S. Bernick

Our law firm offers compassionate counsel and practical legal advice regarding special needs trusts and a whole range of estate planning tools. We encourage you to contact us to schedule a free and confidential appointment with one of our estate planning lawyers. Call 215-563-8783 or contact us online.