You’ve worked hard to build a case for your client. Let us help protect their settlement funds and government benefits.
If your client is disabled, on means-tested government benefits, a minor, or currently receiving student loans, then you may have a duty to take extra steps to protect both your client and their settlement or judgment.
Protect your client and their settlement or judgment. We collaborate and coordinate with financial planners, structured settlement brokers, fiduciaries, and other necessary professionals as needed.
We advise on and create protective arrangements for special needs trusts (first-party & pooled), settlement protection trusts, ABLE accounts, structured settlement annuities, Medicaid-compliant annuities, and more.
Facilitate court approval, attorney’s fees, and the protective arrangement for minors or incapacitated adults in probate court to meet the requirement of Rule 53, Arizona Rules of Probate Procedure.
Prepare the necessary court paperwork and protective arrangements before a settlement is finalized. The earlier you reach out, the more time we have to plan and counsel on the settlement and protective arrangement(s).
A conservator is required to execute settlement agreements on behalf of the protected individual and establish the appropriate protective arrangement(s). We can counsel on the best type of conservatorship (emergency, limited, temporary, permanent, etc.) for your client.
We can help by designing and preparing probate court pleadings, securing hearings, complying with notice requirements, preparing clients for hearings, working with appointed conservators to facilitate execution and funding of the protective arrangement, and filing proof of funding with the court.
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) can preserve your client’s eligibility for government benefits while enhancing the individual’s quality of life.
An SNT is a legal tool designed to hold assets for the benefit of an individual with special needs. It allows the individual to receive supplemental support while preserving eligibility for government benefits. A first-party SNT is funded with the individual’s assets (compensable damages from a settlement or judgment), while a third-party SNT is funded by someone else (typically a properly planned and structured inheritance or gift). Depending on a client’s factual situation, there may be a recommendation to establish both types of SNTs for a disabled client and their family.
A properly structured Special Needs Trust allows for the payment of medical expenses without affecting public benefits. The trust can cover a wide range of needs, including medical treatments, therapies, medications, assistive devices, and recreational needs.
The rules for SNTs and their administration are taken from a combination of federal law, Social Security rules, and state law. Consultation with an elder law/special needs planning attorney is recommended for these issues.
It’s crucial to consider the tax consequences when setting up the trust. Consulting with an experienced special needs planning attorney and tax professional can help ensure compliance with applicable tax laws and minimize potential tax liabilities.
Yes, a structured settlement can be used in conjunction with a Special Needs Trust. Structured settlements provide periodic payments that can help preserve the individual’s eligibility for means-tested benefits by spreading out the income over time, and may be paid to the SNT.
For minors, a court-approved settlement process requires the creation of a conservatorship and/or guardianship to ensure statute-required protection of the minor’s funds until age 18, through protective modalities including, but not limited, to:
For incapacitated adults, under the age of 65, an SNT is typically the preferred option to protect the settlement funds while preserving eligibility for public benefits. For disabled adults over age 65, we must consider other options to protect settlement proceeds.
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