An Effective Alternative to Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts
Natasha Meruelo, Attorney at Law offers estate planning services to individuals with disability and their loved ones in White Plains. We understand the unique challenges that disability can cause, and we want our clients and their loved ones to be well-equipped with adequate solutions. In addition to Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts, we can also evaluate your eligibility for an ABLE savings account to cover various disability-related expenses.
This type of account is the result of the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, generally known as the ABLE Act. If you do not have someone to appoint as a trustee or want to make annual contributions of less that $16,000 to an account that can be used the care of your loved one, an ABLE account can make a positive difference for individuals with a disability and their families.
“Qualified disability expenses” under the ABLE Act include:
- Healthcare and personal support services
- Education and professional training
- Assistive technology
- Financial and administrative services
We are dedicated to finding an estate planning solution that helps you in your daily life and protect your rights and assets for the future.
If you are considering opening an ABLE account to help with your disability-related expenses, contact Natasha Meruelo, Attorney at Law today at (914) 752-5098 to schedule a consultation in White Plains.
“Natasha Meruelo is professional, knowledgable and a solid attorney. She made sure I was well informed, prepared, and empowered throughout the court process. Having her support was invaluable. I am so grateful I followed my intuition and chose her to represent me. I highly recommend her!”
Under the ABLE Act, you must have experienced the onset of your disability before turning 26 years of age. If you are a beneficiary of SSI or SSDI payments, you become automatically eligible to open an ABLE account.
If you do not receive SSI or SSDI benefits, but meet the age requirement, you must demonstrate that you meet the definition and criteria of functional limitations established by Social Security. A licensed physical or other acceptable medical professional must provide a letter of disability certification.
You are only allowed to have one ABLE account. However, you may combine it with a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust in certain circumstances.
How Is an ABLE Account Different from a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust?
An ABLE savings account typically offer more choice and flexibility for the beneficiary and their loved ones, both friends and family. The account owner has greater control over the administration and use of their funds. An ABLE account does not require a trustee.
For trusts, only two kinds exist: the first-party Special Needs Trust and the third-party Supplemental Needs Trust. However, 49 different ABLE plans exist as of January 2022, which gives a wide selection to choose from for individuals interested in this option.
Attorney Meruelo can help you determine what plan fits your particular needs, based on their maintenance requirements, investment opportunities, and other requirements. We can also review the potential impact of your contribution on your taxes at the federal and state levels.
One of the key advantages of an ABLE savings account is that owning the account does not impact your eligibility for benefits such as:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- HUD housing support
- SNAP and food stamps
When choosing a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust, the individual with a disability cannot own the trust, which requires a separate administrator or trustee. The purpose is to allow the individual with a disability to preserve their eligibility for important benefits.
If your needs or your loved ones’ contributions typically exceed the annual cap of $16,000, you may consider a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust instead.
Setting up a trust offers particular benefits when it comes to inheritance, settlements or other assets and can ensure that your loved one with a disability receive sufficient financial support after your passing or receipt of a large sum of money.
If you are debating whether an ABLE account, a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust, or a combination of those, meets your specific needs, Attorney Meruelo can review your needs and goals and discuss your options. From addressing any question you have to guiding you through the legal process of opening and maintaining your ABLE account, our team is here to support you and your family for all your estate planning needs.