Special Needs Planning


If you currently provide care for a special needs child or loved one, (someone with a mental or physical disability) special planning is needed to cover your legal bases and give you peace of mind.  Simply put, are you concerned about what will happen to a special needs child when you can no longer provide and care for them.

While you can certainly make sure a mentally or physically impaired loved one receives your assets at your death, such a bequest may very well prevent them from qualifying for essential benefits under various government programs such as the Supplemental Security Income Progarm (SSI) or Medicaid.

SSI and Medicaid provide public money or benefits for the basic necessities needed for life, such as food, housing and clothing.  The programs and benefits do not provide a special dependent with the resources that would allow them to enjoy a high quality of life. If a parent leaves assets to a special needs child at death, that child will probably not qualify for government benefits. 

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.  These trusts allow a special needs child to receive government benefits and still have the benefit of other assets you own. 

We can help you set up a Special Needs Trust so that government benefit eligibility is preserved while at the same time providing assets that will meet the supplemental needs of a special needs child (those that go beyond food, shelter, and clothing and the medical and long term support and services of Medicaid).

For more information about special needs trusts, please contact us for a free initial consultation or ask for our brochure titled “Understanding the Basics of Special Needs Trusts.”


The Law Office of Richard C. Petrofsky assists clients with Estate Gift Planning, Wills, Trusts, Charitable Planning, Special Needs Planning, Elder Law and Medicaid Planning, Estate and Family Planning for Same-Sex Couples and LGBT Individuals, Asset Protection Planning, Corporate and Business Planning and Tax Law and Planning in St. Louis, Missouri and surrounding areas.