Depending upon the types of disabilities or needs that a person faces an individual may be able to secure certain financial benefits from the federal government. For example, when an individual has a disease or ailment that prevents them from working and that is long-term, they may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. In some cases, government benefits are tied to an individual’s financial need or limited access to financial support from others.

A Massachusetts resident who receives government benefits may face challenges to keeping their benefits if they receive an inheritance or bequest from the estate of a family member or other party. That is because through an inheritance the individual’s financial situation may improve and they may not appear to need their government support any longer. While an inheritance may alleviate the financial pressures of a disability or other problem in the short-term, individuals who require government benefits to survive may later find themselves without help once their inheritances are spent.

Estate planners who wish to leave property to their loved ones who receive government benefits may feel stuck and may not know how to help their relatives without jeopardizing their systems of support. They may benefit from establishing special needs trusts for them in order to accomplish their goals.

A special needs trust is one that is set up to support a person who may not be able to support themselves. These types of trust often include special provisions that end them if they ever threaten to end the beneficiaries’ government benefits. Special needs trusts may be used by their beneficiaries for many purposes and may make their lives more enjoyable so that they are not limited to the incomes their government benefits provide.

It is important that readers recognize that this post is only offered as general information and that it does not recommend or provide legal advice. The support and assistance of trusted and experienced attorneys should always be sought before making legal decisions about estate planning.