Being named trustee of a special needs trust is a great honor as well as a huge responsibility.
Whether you are seeking a trustee or thinking about accepting a request to act as one for a family member, your first move should be to contact an experienced special needs and elder law lawyer.
Managing a special needs trust is serious business and choosing the right individual for the job can make all the difference.
What is a special needs trust?
A special needs trust in Florida is a legal directive that safeguards assets required for the future care of a loved one who can no longer care for themselves and who is receiving government benefits such as SSI and/or Medicaid.
Whether you have a son or daughter with special needs or a spouse with a disability, your family will likely benefit greatly from a trust.
Also referred to as supplemental needs trust, this legal tool can ensure your loved one receives an inheritance but does not lose their Medicaid or other government benefits eligibility.
Duties of a special needs trustee
When choosing a trustee, consider a candidate’s age, health, financial situation, and values.
Additionally, consider if the person you have in mind is prepared for the following responsibilities associated special needs trusts:
- Work to enhance the quality of life of the beneficiary while keeping them safe to avoid exploitation.
- Lawfully manage and invest special needs trust property for the benefit of the beneficiary, within the laws required to maintain benefits eligibility.
- Use resources to enhance the beneficiary’s life while stretching trust funds to last as long as possible.
- Stay up to date with Medicaid and SSI income and resource rules and ensure the beneficiary’s spending does not affect eligibility in such programs.
- Be attentive to the beneficiary’s personal needs for services and goods not covered by Medicaid or SSI.
- File federal and state tax returns.
- Maintain detailed records, assemble documents for SSI and Medicaid programs as necessary.
- Ensure the beneficiary and interested parties are fully up-to-date with trust, spending, and trust-related activities.
- If the court appointed a guardian, cooperate and work closely with this individual.
- Distribute trust property if the beneficiary dies or if the trust is terminated.
If you have a spouse with a disability or child with special needs, a competent special needs and elder lawyer can help you set up a trust to ensure they are take care of after you die.
Contact experienced special needs and elder law lawyers in Central Florida
The Law Offices of Hoyt & Bryan provides unparalleled legal service for special needs trusts and estates in Florida.