Whether an injury occurred at birth or later in life, some Tennessee residents will need assistance the rest of their lives. Fortunately, a variety of federal, state and local programs provide invaluable assistance and benefits to those with qualifying disabilities. However, they may not be enough to give a particular individual everything he or she needs, but providing funds outright to a person with special needs could be problematic. For this reason, it may be a good idea to consider creating a special needs trust.
In order to continue receiving benefits and participate in government programs, someone with special needs cannot have assets above a certain amount. Individuals with too many assets would no longer qualify for programs they rely on. In order to get around this problem, a special needs trust can be created. This type of trust allows family and friends to provide assets to the individual without jeopardizing access to much-needed programs.
For example, a grandparent, parent or other family member may leave assets to the special needs trust in his or her will. This provides an inheritance to the disabled person that can supplement individual needs without adding to his or her assets, and the individual leaving the inheritance can feel good about providing for someone he or she loves. In addition, all parties involved can rest assured that the assets will be used for the benefit of the disabled person.
There is a caveat, however. A special needs trust must be set up in accordance with strict rules in order to function as intended. It would not be a good idea to attempt to create one of these trusts without first gaining a complete understanding of the rules, the language that must be included and more. To help ensure this trust is created correctly, it would greatly benefit anyone wanting one to consult with an experienced Tennessee attorney first.