North Dakota Special Needs Trusts | O'Keeffe O'Brien Lyson Attorneys

North Dakota Special Needs Trusts


Individuals who have particularly serious medical conditions have several unique estate planning tools available to them. Special needs trusts allow disabled or seriously ill individuals to become beneficiaries of trusts of unlimited means without affecting eligibility for government assistance, which often contain income thresholds. 

Establishing a Special Needs Trust

Special needs trusts are often created because a person is disabled or chronically ill. These trusts can be established by anyone for the benefit of a disabled person. To create these trusts, the assistance of a knowledgeable North Dakota estate-planning attorney is essential because a poorly written trust can result in the government being able to seize assets that are placed in the trust. Some of the particular ways in which an attorney at our Fargo law firm can help is by deciding on an appropriate guardian for an individual as well as determining who would be best to decide how funds in the trust are spent. 

Who Benefits from Special Needs Trusts

There are many individuals who should consider the creation of a special needs trust. Blind individuals, differently-abled individuals, or individuals over the age of 65 who earn a small income and have less than $2,000 in assets qualify for Supplemental Security Income assets. There are certain types of property that are excluded from this group of assets including burial plans, a motor vehicle, a primary residence, and several other types of assets. Individuals who create special needs trusts are able to avoid these income limits.

In contrast to special needs trusts, conservatorships are another estate planning tool but assets in a conservatorship are generally considered the income of a person. As a result, anyone who with anything larger than a small income or anyone with greater than $2,000 in assets should consider creating a special needs trust. Some of the other groups of people who should consider creating special needs trusts are individuals who want to make sure that funds continue to be used to specifically take care of a person with a disability. Because the money is placed in these trusts, disabled or seriously ill individuals who want to make sure that assets avoid creditors also benefit from special needs trusts. 

The Disadvantages of a Special Needs Trust in Fargo

There are some unique limitations to special needs trusts in North Dakota that make these trusts unappealing to some people. One particular disadvantage includes the yearly costs to manage these trusts as well as initial fees to create them. A second disadvantage is that the beneficiary of the trust is dependent on the trustee to administer the funds in the trust. A third disadvantage is that funds in some special needs trusts must be used to pay back certain amounts including bills due to Medicaid. 

Contact a Skilled Fargo Lawyer

If you need assistance in creating a special needs trust or any other type of estate planning tool, the help of a skilled estate planning attorney can prove to be particularly helpful. Consider contacting the Stephen Welle of the O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys through our convenient online form. Our office can also be called at 701-235-800 or 877-235-8002. Attorney Stephen Welle has the experience necessary to navigate the very obstacles that can arise in estate planning.