Thousands of Colorado citizens live with a mental or physical disability that seriously impairs their ability to manage their daily affairs. Their medical needs and other long-term care needs become a constant source of concern for parents and other family members who care about them. There are concrete steps you can take to ensure the immediate and long-term well-being of your disabled loved one.
At the Denver elder law firm of Chayet & Danzo, LLC, we provide thoughtful legal advice and guidance for disabled adults, children and their family members. To learn more about long-term planning in response to illness or disability, contact us to arrange a free consultation.
Highly Experienced In Special Needs And Disability Planning
The attorneys at Chayet & Danzo, LLC, have extensive experience in special needs and disability planning. Attorneys Marco Chayet and Frank Danzo have each lectured in this area. The attorneys co-authored the "Estate Planning for the Child with Special Needs" chapter which was featured in the "Colorado Handbook of Elder Law," published by the Colorado Bar Association. When you choose our firm for help with disability special needs planning, you can rest assured that you are working with highly experienced lawyers who care about helping you.
Public And Private Benefits
You or your family member may be eligible for a variety of private or public benefits to assist with funding for medical care, nursing services and general living expenses. This may include private health insurance, long-term care insurance, SSI, Medicare or Medicaid.
Medicaid frequently becomes the primary source of payment for long-term care, but Medicaid has many rules that govern eligibility that change frequently. While providing essential support, Medicaid benefits tend to meet subsistence needs; rarely is it an adequate solution to address all of an incapacitated person's needs. There are a variety of trusts available to make life more comfortable. These include:
- Special needs trusts
- Income trusts
- Medicare set-aside accounts (MSA)
- Third-party discretionary trusts
- Pooled trusts
A Special Needs Trust
The special needs trust is designed to promote an individual's comfort and happiness without sacrificing Medicaid eligibility. Special needs trusts can be used to pay for:
- Medical and dental expenses
- Annual independent checkups
- Necessary or desirable equipment (such as specially equipped vans)
- Training and education
- Essential dietary needs
If the trust is sufficiently funded, the beneficiary can also receive electronic equipment and appliances, computers, vacations, movies, payments for a companion, clothing and other self-esteem enhancing and quality-of-life expenses.
Special needs trusts need not be inflexible or generic; they can be customized to your loved one's particular needs. However, in order to fine-tune a special needs trust, it needs to be a revocable trust, not an irrevocable trust.
We regularly work with families to create special needs trusts. We understand how trusts operate over time. This allows us to craft trusts that will grow with the client, allowing for evolving needs to dictate the trust's provisions. Some types of special needs trusts require a government "pay-back" provision so that any money remaining in the trust is paid to the government upon the person's death. This is not always the case, however, as some trusts can go to other family members. We know the difference and can save families hundreds of thousands of dollars.
We Can Help You Plan For Funding Long-Term Care
Our goal is to help you understand all of your options for funding long-term care. We ease the process of applying for disability benefits and ensure your care choices are implemented.
We can advise you on how to obtain care in your home or long-term care that does not jeopardize other public or private benefits. We also provide counsel to trustees of special needs trusts to ensure that the trusts are administered properly from funding to distribution, including seeking approval of the trust entity by the governing state or federal agency.
Perhaps you have been diagnosed with a degenerative illness such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, dementia or Alzheimer's. You can begin long-term care planning now to ensure your care needs are met and medical treatment is in line with your wishes.
Attorneys at our firm are members of the Academy of Special Needs Planners, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Denver Estate Planning Council, with extensive experience in special needs planning.
Contact Us For A Free Consultation
If you are interested in learning more about financial planning for disability care through a special needs trust or other mechanism, call 303-872-5980 or 888-472-1088.