#1 Special Needs Trust Attorney Orange County, CA. | Hess-Verdon 1

Serving State: California, Southern California

Serving Counties: Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside & San Bernardino County, San Diego County

Serving cities: Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach, Newport Coast, Corona Del Mar, Santa Ana, Anaheim, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Buena Park, Fullerton, Orange, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Garden Grove, Tustin, Yorba Linda, Fountain Valley, Westminster, Dana Point, Rancho Santa Margarita, North Tustin, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Villa Park, Ladera Ranch, Placentia, Laguna Woods, Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, State of California

Special Needs Trust Attorney in Orange County, CA.

Searching for a Special Needs Trust Attorney in Orange County? A variety of state and federal benefits are available for persons who may need skilled nursing care or who are unable to support themselves due to a disability. Using a Special Needs Trust (SNT) can allow a disabled beneficiary to take advantage of both public benefits and a settlement from a lawsuit, a gift, or a distribution from inheritance.

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Special Needs Trust

Usually, these government-funded benefits provide the recipient with food, shelter, clothing or essential medical services. However, without supplemental funds or resources these minimal government benefits do not provide adequate dental care, special therapy, equipment to provide extra comfort or mobility, or resources for recreation.

What is a Special Needs Trust (SNTs)? (other names: special treatment trusts, special purpose trusts)

A Special Needs Trust is a legal document and trust designed around assisting people with disability. 

It was designed to allow the disabled beneficiary to have an unlimited amount of assets but still qualify for government benefits. 

These trusts prevent the Medicaid beneficiary from being disqualified from Medicaid long-term care for being “over-resourced” — i.e., having too many assets.

Should I use a Special Needs Trust Attorney?

Here in Orange County, CA. where we are located (620 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA), we found after speaking with many families with SNT needs, that it is the highest importance to reach out to an expert to ensure the trust is properly established. 

Too many small issues that can jeopardize the SNT. We recommend reviewing a few attorneys to ensure they are the team you will feel comfortable with and will be around to assist whenever necessary.

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About Hess-Verdon & Associates: Our firm tailors each trust to address the unique situation and circumstances of each client.

What can the funds in a special needs trust be used for?

  1. One car/van but must be in the trustee’s name
  2. Insurance for the car but must be in the Trustee’s name
  3. Legal services like accounting
  4. Memberships like a gym, yoga, clubs, etc
  5. Can purchase appliances like a TV, washer/dryers, refrigerators, etc.
  6. Services like cable, etc
  7. Electronic hardware like computers, software, internet services
  8. Learning topics like: courses and classes
  9. Things around the house like rugs, drapes, etc.
  10. Things to use in the home like towels, deodorant, soap, personal hygiene products, etc.
  11. Others are like dental work not covered by Medicaid. (Annual Checkups)
  12. If there is enough assets to buy a home outright, the beneficiary may be able to live in the property rent-free and will not affect their SSI grant.

What expenses can’t a Special Needs trust Pay for?

  1. Food like groceries, going out for dinner, etc..
  2. Can’t be used for a mortgage including paying for property insurance
  3. Rent
  4. Gas, water, sewer, garbage, gift cards

Why are some things not covered?

  1. You can jeopardize SSI/ Medicaid/ Food Stamp Benefits as it is considered income.  Your SSI benefits would pay for these.
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What are some special needs topics I should know?

Things to consider are the following:

  1. Assets in the beneficiary name. (Current limit is $2,000.00) 
  2. Financial planning
  3. Special Needs Trust
  4. SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and SSDI (Social Security Disability Income)
  5. Settlement Planning
  6. Public Benefits
  7. Health Care
  8. Estate Planning
  9. Disability Issues

What other alternative are there to Special Needs Trusts?  

  1. Achieving a Better Life Experience ACT (ABLE).  Go here –>IRS ABLE Accounts of 2014
  1. Passed in 2014 to allow for special bank accounts for individuals with disability

What are the two most common types of special needs trusts? (First-party and 3rd-party)

First-Party funds – (d)(4)(A) trust (referring to its authorizing statute) (i.e., trusts that are funded directly by the person with a disability, which may be subject to Medicaid payback rules) and third party funds (i.e., trusts that are funded by parents, grandparents, guardians or other funding sources that are likely not subject to Medicaid payback rules)

  1. What are some qualifications for a first-party  trust?
    1. The disabled beneficiary must be under the age of 65 and disabled
    2. The trust must be created by a parent, grandparent, guardian or the court.
    3. When creating the SNT, the State in which the beneficiary lives must be designated as the primary beneficiary of the trust.
    4. And the assets in the SNT must be only used for the Medicaid beneficiary.

Take Note:  Both first-part and third-party SNTs must be properly drafted in order to protect the disabled beneficiary’s right to receive means-tested public benefits.

2nd note: Tax consequences of SNTs are also very complex.

3rd note:  Some States require that an annual budget be established.

4th note: If you don’t follow State rules, and they may change periodically, you will disqualify the trust and disqualify the beneficiary from Medicaid.

 5th note: Pool trust. Also known as (d)(4)(C) Trust. Basically, a pool trust established by a non-profit organization that pool assets together from many people.  (contact us for details)

Contact Our Estate Planning Attorney Firm Today

A properly designed and administered Special Needs Trust can provide funds to supplement the disabled beneficiary’s government benefits while causing the assets in the Special Needs Trust are considered unavailable resources thereby.


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Meet Jillyn Hess-Verdon - Managing Partner

Mrs. Verdon’s commitment to the highest level of legal expertise and knowledge while providing personal service to her clients has caused the firm to grow into one of Southern California’s leading law firms.

Special Needs Trust Lawyer

We look forward to assisting you!

A Special Needs Trust is typically structured to comply with state and federal regulations to allow distributions to a disabled beneficiary for items not covered by public benefits. These Trusts are structured to comply with state and federal regulations to allow distributions to a disabled beneficiary for items not covered by public benefits.

Experienced Legal Counsel

Our firm tailors each trust to address the unique situation and circumstances of each client. There are many issues addressed when planning your Trust and Estate, and especially if you have beneficiaries with disabilities who should be provided for through a Special Needs Trust.

This information is provided as a legal advisory and does not provide any specific legal advice to any individual case.

  • How does the beneficiary access the special needs trust?

    1. The trustee can purchase necessities for the loved one, services like personal care, vacations, home furnishings (see above partial list).  The Trustee could disqualify the beneficiary by directly giving the loved one money, etc..

 We hope the above breakdown has helped you.  But, before taking your next step, our courteous and helpful Trust Attorneys are a phone call away.  Located in Newport Beach, CA. Hess-Verdon is your choice for all your Special Needs Trust questions. Call: 949-706-7300.  We will make sure the trust in created using the language necessary to make it valid as well as broad enough to meet the evolving needs of the disabled beneficiary.

Other Topics we will cover:  Spend down plan, Settlement protection trust, Pooled trust, ABLE account.

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