Protecting Your Wealth One Piece At A Time

A Las Vegas Lawyer Who Handles Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust specifically protects the interests of disabled loved ones, young and old. At this time, every trust that we draft has springing special needs trust provisions built into it. When our clients’ disabled, elderly, or chronically ill family members collect trust funds or make use of trust assets, they are generally able to retain their Medicaid or other means-tested government benefits and avoid Medicaid transfer penalties.

At the Law Offices of David A. Straus in Las Vegas, we are deeply committed to maximizing our clients’ wealth preservation and that of their beneficiaries while providing them with the greatest possible access to and control of trust funds when they need them. Our attorney has served clients throughout Nevada for over thirty years. When you need an experienced, proven, and straightforward special needs trust attorney, you call us. We will ensure your trust is fully customized to your needs and goals in life and in death.

Types of Special Needs Trusts

Third-party special needs trust: Created for a special needs beneficiary (disabled person) by a party other than the beneficiary. If the family has a mentally or physically challenged child, a disabled adult, or an elderly adult, it is advisable to place inheritance or assets in a trust that limits distributions to the needs of the beneficiary that are not provided by Medicaid or other means-tested government benefits. The benefits of this type of trust is that the money passing from the parents or the estate to the trust for the special needs beneficiary may be used to make the beneficiary’s life more pleasant, while Medicaid pays for the fundamental medical needs of the individual.

First-party special needs trust: As the name indicates, the actual injured child’s or disabled adult’s funds are placed into a trust for his or her needs that are not provided by Medicaid or other means-tested government benefits. Lawyers who specialize in these types of trusts are frequently termed elder law attorneys, even though the practice also involves providing for children. Examples of when first-party special needs trusts are used include:

  • A recipient of personal injury settlements
  • Special needs children who receive an inheritance outright
  • Disabled or elderly adults with excess assets

Helping People Qualify for Medicaid Without Having to Sell Assets

Special needs trusts, sometimes referred to as “Medicaid trusts,” allow families to protect assets and the livelihood of vulnerable family members. You do not need to spend down, sell family assets, or risk financial penalties for a family member to qualify for Medicaid. We can help you secure long-term health care benefits for your loved one(s) without ever having to worry about their impoverishment or quality of care.

We limit our practice to estate planning and asset protection. A properly drafted, funded, and personalized special needs trust will protect the trust assets and your loved one(s) from impoverishment.

Guardianships and Conservatorships

We understand that guardianships and conservatorships are necessary in some emergency situations and other circumstances with no better options. If we can get ahead of such situations while our clients are competent, we do so by creating quality trusts, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and comprehensive estate plans that are tailored specifically for each individual client. Living probate can and should be avoided if at all possible.

However, if your loved one (child or adult) is mentally or physically disabled, terminally ill, seriously injured or incapacitated, obtaining court-appointed legal guardianship and conservatorship may be entirely necessary. There are two ways in which this can happen:

  • The court appoints a guardian to make personal decisions for the protected person (ward), such as health care treatments and services, education, where to live, and others
  • The court appoints a conservator to make financial decisions for the protected person (conservatee), such as business, real estate, investment, contract, and bill payment decisions

It is easy to see why planning ahead with the use of trusts, wills, and durable powers of attorney is preferred. Guardians and conservators are given broad powers by the court that are not balanced through legal contracts with the ward or conservatee. However, obtaining legal guardianship and conservatorship is complicated. When it is necessary to protect children or adults with these means, you should only pursue legal action with an experienced elder law attorney.

If you have minor children, but no trust, will, or estate plan documented by an experienced estate planning attorney, it is critical to begin the process of planning for their future now, in the event that you become incapacitated or die.

Call Our Office To Schedule A Complimentary Initial Consultation

We would be pleased to speak with you personally at a time that is convenient for you, but the sooner you act, the sooner you can be sure that your loved one is protected. Please email or call us today at 702-474-4500 to schedule a meeting.

David A. Straus is the author or co-author of many publications.

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