Maryland Special Needs Trusts

Many people desire to give gifts and bequests to friends or relatives with special needs. But you must consider whether the gift or bequest will cause the beneficiary to lose their government benefits. Ensuring the beneficiary will continue to receive their government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), may require you to give the gift or bequest through a special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust.

When providing such a gift or bequest you intend to improve the comfort of the person with special needs, not relieve the government of its burden. However, certain government benefit programs require the person be financially needy. If the person with special needs has assets in excess of $2,000, then the beneficiary will not qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). So, if you gave your child with autism $50,000, then their SSI, Medicaid, and other government benefits could stop and they would need to live on your $50,000 gift until their assets are back to being under $2,000. At the end of the day, the only one benefiting from such a gift would be the government. Because of this and similar issues, attorneys developed planning techniques by which the person with disabilities will receive the benefit of your contribution without losing their medical and other benefits.

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