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By: Sipi Gupta | January 13, 2020

Today, most courts find that a parent has a duty to support an adult child who is unable (as opposed to unwilling) to support himself. Sometimes this is based on a court’s interpretation of an applicable statute. Other times there is no statute on point and the court instead relies on the decisions of courts in prior cases. Occasionally, if the court has no supporting statutory or case law on which to rely, the court will forge ahead and base its decision on its interpretation of the historical common law relating to parental duties.

A small number of courts around the country have held that a parent has no duty to support an adult child who cannot support herself. This minority position usually results from a court relying on a statute that...

By: Sipi Gupta | August 30, 2019

Serving as a trustee requires administrative and technical skills in addition to strong interpersonal communication skills. Identifying the appropriate trustee is difficult in general; a Special Needs Trust (SNT) presents additional challenges. While most families will name a relative to serve as the trustee of their family’s SNT, they are often unaware of the specialized knowledge needed to succeed in the role. In many cases, it makes sense to have a family member involved in some capacity in the care of the individual with special needs. Another option is to select a professional trustee with specialized skills to serve as the trustee or co-trustee.

Ideal Qualities for a Trustee

In considering trustees to name for your SNT, evaluate your al...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 09, 2019

Yes! A power of attorney for finances is a document that gives someone – your agent – the right to act on your behalf, but sometimes it’s helpful to have two agents acting for you instead of one. Multiple agents who can act together are permitted, and your document can specify whether you will allow co-agents to act independently of each other or together.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 22, 2017

A special needs trust cannot pay for food or shelter for an SSI beneficiary without affecting his benefits. But there is no penalty for paying for someone’s food or shelter while they are on SSDI. And if the SSDI beneficiary receives Medicare, there is no penalty there, either.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 16, 2017

I live in one state and my daughter lives in a group home in neighboring state.  Where should I establish a special needs trust for her benefit?

While the trust can probably be established in either state, your final choice of location may depend on where the trustee lives and what state provides Medicaid benefits for your daughter.  Regardless of where the trust is situated, if your daughter lives in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call us at 215-650-7017 to review the trust to make sure that it complies with local Medicaid rules.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 09, 2017

A Medicare Set-Aside is a trust or trust-like arrangement that is set up to hold settlement proceeds for future medical expenses. A specialized company evaluates your future medical needs, recommends an amount that should be set aside for future medical care, and the government approves the amount. The funds are then either placed in the Medicare Set-Aside account in one lump-sum or the account is funded with a "structured settlement annuity" that will refill the account over time. In either case, the administrator of the Medicare Set-Aside trust may use the funds only to pay for medical care related to your personal injury, leaving Medicare or your private insurance free to provide coverage for medical expenses that are not relat...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 02, 2017

If an SSI recipient gifts money, he could lose up to three years of SSI eligibility. In order to calculate the period of ineligibility, the amount transferred is divided by the transferor’s monthly SSI benefit (including state supplement), rounding the result up or down to the nearest whole number.

For example, Ekta, who receives SSI benefits ($757.10/month in 2017), receives $30,000 from her grandfather at his death. She gives her entire inheritance to her sister.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) divides the transferred amount ($30,000) by Ekta's SSI benefit ($757.10) to determine the ineligibility period (39.62 or, rounded up, 40 months). Ekta is ineligible for SSI for just over 3 years.

For more about transfers a...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 01, 2017

Yes, but be aware that a co-trustee can be held responsible for another co-trustee’s breach of a fiduciary duty. Thus, it is important that all co-trustees pay close attention to everything that is done in the administration of the trust. If there is any question or problem, it should be communicated to the other co-trustee or co-trustees immediately. As a general rule, where there are two or more co-trustees, all have to agree on all matters of trust administration. However, the trust document may create a different standard for agreement, such as majority rule. In order to minimize the chances of being held responsible for someone else’s poor judgment or breach of duty, a co-trustee should be sure to make a written record of any points of...