Providing for Your Disabled Loved One: Beyond Moral Obligations

By Attorney Erin L. Nunes, Esq., Partner

Many families with disabled members feel the crucial need to ensure their wellbeing even after they’re gone. Informal plans like relying on siblings to share inheritance often carry uncertainties. But fear not, there’s a more secure path: the Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT).

Imagine John and Susan, parents of Joe and Sally. Joe, their disabled son, relies on crucial benefits like MassHealth and SSI. Leaving him an inheritance directly could jeopardize these benefits, causing immense stress.

Their initial plan – naming Sally sole beneficiary with the hope she’d share with Joe – creates a moral obligation, not a legal one. Sally’s good intentions could be thwarted by life events like divorce, creditor issues, or even her own passing. In such scenarios, Joe’s well-being hangs precariously in the balance.

Here’s where the SNT shines. It acts as a secure financial vessel for Joe, receiving your intended inheritance while protecting his benefits. You, as the trust creator, have complete control:

Choose a trustworthy trustee: This person manages the funds for Joe’s benefit. Think reliable and understanding individuals.

Provide guidance: Outline how you envision the funds being used for Joe’s care, comfort, and quality of life.

Specify beneficiaries: Decide who inherits any remaining trust funds after Joe’s passing.

With an SNT, you build a legacy of care for your loved one, not just a gamble on good intentions. No more sleepless nights worrying about the “what ifs.” You’ve proactively secured their future, allowing them to thrive with the resources you lovingly dedicate.

If you have a disabled family member and want to ensure their future, don’t hesitate to embrace the security of an SNT. Contact us at 508-994-5200 for a free consultation and turn “what ifs” into confident “I knows.”

©Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. 35 Arnold Street, New Bedford, MA 02740, 336 South Street, Hyannis MA 02601 and 45 Bristol Drive, Easton MA 02375.  This article is for illustration purposes only.  This article does not constitute legal advice.  There is no attorney/client relationship created with Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. by this article.  DO NOT make decisions based upon information in this article.  Every family is unique and legal advice can only be given after an individual consultation with an elder law attorney.  Any decisions made without proper legal advice may cause significant legal and financial problems.