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Lakeland, FL Special Needs Planning Lawyer

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If you have a family member with special needs, you’ve likely thought about their future. Dependents with special needs often require lifelong care, which can be expensive. So, what happens if the unexpected happens and you aren’t there anymore—either to care for their needs yourself or to provide for their ongoing needs to be met financially?

Our lead Lakeland special needs planning lawyer, Attorney O. Reginald “Reggie” Osenton, has dedicated his career to helping parents and providers of dependents with special needs answer that question and find peace of mind. As an attorney with over 33 years of legal experience in estate planning, he can help you draft a plan for your loved one after your passing. His personal and professional experience equips him to help you ensure that they will get the best care available, no matter what the future holds for them or for you. 

Call today to book your free consultation and discuss your options! 

Special Needs Planning 101

Unfortunately, far too many people mistakenly assume that they can simply leave their disabled beneficiary an inheritance, just like they would for a child without special needs, and that everything will be fine. However, doing so creates many problems.

Government programs such as Medicaid and Social Security are based on financial need. Suppose you leave them an inheritance without making special considerations as to how doing so will impact those benefits. In that case, they can lose them altogether because they have too much money in their name to qualify for them. In addition, they may be unable to efficiently manage the money left to them on their own in an inheritance. Any assets you intended for them to receive may be required to go through probate court if you pass away or become incapacitated; the money will be depleted by legal costs before your disabled beneficiary can receive it. Inheritances left to special needs beneficiaries can often be depleted by creditors or even become an area of contention in the family. 

If all you do is sign a will, all of these issues could still come into play, and there is no guarantee that your disabled loved one will receive the care they need. The most effective way to ensure a disabled loved one’s future financial security is through special needs planning with the help of an attorney. Special needs planning is a way of securing assets, typically in trusts, so that they will be safe when your loved one needs them but won’t count against them for government benefits eligibility. 

Special needs planning allows you to:

  • designate a guardian 
  • specific care providers for your loved one
  • find housing
  • create a special needs to trust 
  • take other steps that won’t replace government aid programs 
  • cover costs for your special needs family member’s education, recreation, counseling, medical treatment, medical devices
  • and more!

About Special Needs Trusts

Since special needs planning isn’t a cookie-cutter process, different types of trusts are available to meet your unique goals. Our Lakeland special needs planning lawyer can help you understand and compare various trusts so that you can select the one that will benefit your loved one’s future the most. Once you decide which type to pursue, we can help you establish that trust while avoiding legal complications or problems. When you work with Osenton Law, P.A., we take the time to get to know you and your family. We want to understand your needs and desires so that we can offer you the best legal assistance! 

We can help with the following types of special needs trusts:

First-Party Trusts

First-party trusts, sometimes called “payback special needs trusts,” “litigation special needs trusts,” “Miller trusts,” “(d)(4)(A) SNT”, or “(d)(4)(C) SNT”), are tools to manage the disabled individual’s own money. For instance, they manage monies received from a(n):

  • personal injury lawsuit
  • retirement plan
  • divorce settlement
  • inheritance
  • and other personal assets. 

First-party trusts are irrevocable trusts; as such, their terms can’t be changed. Money in a first-party trust is protected as it is strictly used for things not covered by government programs. However, they also have a mandatory reimbursement provision, allowing government agencies to reclaim payments for benefits received after the beneficiary passes away.

Third-Party Trusts

Third-party trusts are the most common types of special needs planning tools and typically include assets from a parent, sibling, or grandparent. This type of trust guarantees that your special needs beneficiary will have the financial resources necessary to access the highest possible quality of life when you or their other caretakers aren’t here to help them anymore. With third-party trusts, the beneficiary doesn’t legally own the assets and isn’t permitted to make spending decisions. Rather, the money is managed by a trustee. When the beneficiary dies, the money isn’t given to the state.

Trust Our Lakeland Special Needs Planning Lawyer

At Osenton Law, P.A., we really care about your family, and we want to do everything in our power to make sure that you and everyone you love, regardless of ability, will be provided for. We form a long-term relationship with you as our client to guarantee that you can rely on our legal counsel whenever you need us! Our firm offers affordable, predictable fee arrangments so you don’t have to worry about surprise costs. Call Reggie today to book your free consultation and learn more about how we can serve you. 

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Osenton Law, P.A.

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Free Consultations

32 Years Of Experience

Long-Term Client Relationships

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(813) 551-1070