Do I Need an Attorney to Set Up Special Needs Trust?

January 11, 2022 Posted In Estate Planning,Trusts

If you have a child or loved one with special needs, setting up a special needs trust can be crucial to his or her future. A special needs trust can provide the financial stability to take care of a disabled or impaired family member after you pass away. Whether or not you need an attorney to set up a special needs trust in Denver, Colorado depends on your specific situation.

What Is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust is a fiduciary arrangement that is specifically designed for someone who has a disability. It allows a third party – a trustee – to hold, manage and administer assets on behalf of the special needs individual (the beneficiary). Including a special needs trust in your estate plan can be critical if you have a child or someone else in your care with special needs. This type of trust, when created correctly, can pay for dozens of necessary expenses, including medical costs, nurses, live-in care, housing expenses, clothing, food, school, and much more.

When Can You Set Up a Special Needs Trust On Your Own?

Hiring an attorney is not a legal requirement for creating most special needs trusts. Doing it yourself might be an option for your family if you are creating a third-party trust or a pooled trust. If you wish to set up a first-party trust that uses the beneficiary’s own money, however, it is wise to hire an attorney.

A third-party trust is funded from money that belongs to a third party rather than the beneficiary, such as a family member or inheritance. A pooled trust is funded by multiple beneficiaries who set up their resources for investing and is organized by a charity. If you wish to set up one of these types of trusts, you legally do not need to hire an attorney. 

Setting up a trust on your own might only be a good choice, however, if you are not putting a great deal of money into the trust and you are willing to do the research and legwork of correctly creating the trust.

When You Should Hire an Attorney

If you are creating a first-party trust, you plan on putting a lot of money into the trust, or you do not wish to dedicate the time and energy that it takes to ensure the validity of your trust, hire a Denver special needs trust attorney to handle this legal task for you. The money that you spend on hiring a lawyer can be well worth the investment in the returns that you and your family receive. 

For example, you can enjoy total peace of mind knowing that your special needs trust is valid and enforceable after a lawyer has set it up. You can rest assured that the trust and chosen trustee will work as desired to give your loved one everything that he or she needs to survive after you pass away. Your lawyer can also customize the trust to address your loved one’s specific needs and achieve your personal goals. 

Choosing an Attorney to Help With Special Needs Planning

If you can afford to hire a lawyer, doing so is generally in your best interests as someone who wishes to set up a special needs trust in Colorado. When choosing your attorney, look for the following characteristics:

  • An attorney who has devoted at least part of his or her practice to staying up to date with the laws that apply to special needs trusts.
  • A thorough knowledge of public benefits and the associated federal and state laws.
  • The ability to draft a customized trust that is specifically designed to meet the particular needs of your family and the beneficiary.

For more information about special needs estate planning and special needs trusts, contact the Denver special needs trust attorneys at Phillips & Blow, PC. We are experienced estate planning attorneys who can help you set up and manage a special needs trust in Denver.

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John Phillips has now gone to JR Phillips & Assoc. PC.  Justin Blow, Denise Husa, and Lexus Bohan are now with Colorado Estate Matters and can be reached below.