Special Needs

If you currently provide care for a child or loved one with special needs (such as mental or physical disabilities), you likely have concerns about what may happen to them when you are no longer able to provide and care for them.

While you can certainly direct money and assets, such a bequest may prevent a child from qualifying for essential benefits under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid programs. However, public monetary benefits provide only for the bare necessities such as food, housing, and clothing. As you can imagine, these limited benefits will not provide loved ones with the resources that would allow  a richer quality of life. Unfortunately, if parents leave any assets to a child who is receiving public benefits, they run the risk of disqualifying the child from receiving them.  Fortunately, the government has established rules allowing assets to be held in trust, called a “Special Needs” or “Supplemental Needs” Trust for a recipient of SSI and Medicaid as long as certain requirements are met.

Steven Wee Law Office, P.S. can help you set up a Special Needs Trust so that government benefit eligibility is preserved while simultaneously providing assets that will meet the supplemental needs of the person with a disability (those that go beyond food, shelter, and clothing and the medical and long term supports and services of Medicaid). The Special Needs Trust can fund those additional needs. In fact, the Special Needs Trust must be designed specifically to supplement not replace public benefits. Parents should be aware that funds from the trust cannot be distributed directly to the disabled beneficiary. Instead, it must be disbursed to third parties who provide goods and services for use and enjoyment by the disabled beneficiary.

The Special Needs Trust can be used for a variety of life-enhancing expenditures without compromising your loved ones’ eligibility such as:

  • Annual check-ups at an independent medical facility
  • Attendance of religious services
  • Supplemental education and tutoring
  • Out-of-pocket medical and dental expenses
  • Transportation (including purchase of a vehicle)
  • Maintenance of vehicles
  • Purchase materials for a hobby or recreation activity
  • Funds for trips or vacations
  • Funds for entertainment such as movies, shows or ballgames.
  • Purchase of goods and services that add pleasure and quality to life: computers, videos, furniture, or electronics.
  • Athletic training or competitions
  • Special dietary needs
  • Personal care attendant or escort

Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have disabled beneficiaries for whom you wish to provide after your passing.


Steven Wee Law Office, P.S. is conveniently located in Spokane Valley, WA, near the I-90/Argonne intersection. We have had the privilege to serve clients from our own neighborhood as well as from distant communities throughout Eastern Washington and beyond.

**Disclaimer: The free information and help contained in these web pages is not intended to be legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should always consult with an attorney before taking any legal action.



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708 N. Argonne Rd., Ste. 1-B, Spokane Valley, WA 99212
| Phone: (509) 315-8087

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