Life is full of unexpected journeys, and sometimes circumstances lead us to need to move from one state to another. Amidst the excitement and challenges of moving, one critical aspect that demands your immediate attention is your plan for the well-being and security of your loved one with special needs.
Whether you moved for a job opportunity, family reasons, or to get a fresh start, it's crucial to recognize how your carefully crafted Special Needs Plan may be impacted by the difference in our state laws and regulations. What worked well in your previous state may not be as effective or valid in your new home.
To ensure your loved one's future remains secure, it is urgent to have your plan reviewed promptly after a move and updated accordingly.
Each State Has Specific Disability Benefit Laws and Programs
Special Needs Planning is a multifaceted process, greatly impacted by the laws and regulations of the state where the plan was created. Each state has its own unique legal framework that governs vital aspects of your plan such as Guardianship, Special Needs Trusts, public benefits, and Medicaid eligibility.
A well-designed plan in one state might not fully protect your loved one's interests once you relocate. For example, if your loved one benefits from state-sponsored in-home care, you’ll need to apply for a similar program here in your new state, and our program may have very different requirements or processes than your previous in-home care program.
Your Government Benefits Amount May Have Changed
Government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are essential lifelines for individuals with special needs. However, eligibility requirements and benefits amounts can vary significantly from state to state. A move to another state could potentially disrupt your loved one's access to these critical programs if your plan isn't modified accordingly.
It’s essential to have your loved one’s income and asset limits reviewed in light of these programs and submit any necessary paperwork to update your residence and income levels with our state’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) office. This ensures your loved one is receiving the right financial support from this program.
For example, your loved one may have received an extra $49 a month in SSI benefits if you lived in Connecticut, but they may be eligible for an extra $140 a month in SSI if you moved to Delaware.
Guardianship of Your Loved Oe May Need Modification
If you were appointed as a Permanent Guardian of your loved one in your previous state, you should have your guardianship status reviewed here. Different states have varying procedures and criteria for guardianship appointments, making it essential to review and possibly modify your guardianship arrangements to ensure they align with our state's requirements.
For example, a backup or co-Guardian may have been court-appointed in your previous state, but if that co-Guardian did not move here with you, you will need to seek the appointment of a new co-Guardian as soon as possible. This is essential to ensure that there is no disruption in your loved one’s care if you die or become incapacitated.
Special Needs Trust Requirements Can Differ
Special Needs Trusts play a pivotal role in securing your loved one's financial future while preserving their eligibility for government benefits. However, every state has different laws for managing a Special Needs Trust and reporting it to government agencies, so the effectiveness and compliance of your trust might be jeopardized if it was designed under different state laws.
Reviewing your trust with a knowledgeable Special Needs Planning attorney will help ensure it conforms to the specific regulations of our state.
Ensuring a Seamless Transition for You and Your Family
Relocating is already a significant life event, and the last thing you need is added stress and uncertainty regarding your loved one's future. Having your Special Needs Plan reviewed promptly after you move or even before you move will provide peace of mind knowing that your family's interests are adequately protected during this transition period.
As you settle into your new home, remember that you don't have to navigate this complex process alone. As your dedicated Personal Family Lawyer® with a focus on Special Needs Planning, I’m here to guide you every step of the way.
My expertise lies in understanding the intricacies of our state laws and ensuring the Special Needs Plan in place for your loved one remains robust and effective no matter where life takes you.
To learn more about how I can ensure your Special Needs Plan is updated according to our state’s rules (and continues to stay up-to-date), schedule a free 15-minute today.
This article is a service of a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session™, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session.
The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.
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