Pooled Trust Program
Pooled trust programs are a convenient way to provide money to a person with disabilities without sacrificing government benefits. These trusts protect a person’s or family’s financial assets while still providing extra money to loved ones. A pooled trust must be set up and managed by a not-for-profit organization.
Grandparents want the best for their children and grandchildren, and thus often worry about a grandchild with a disability who may need additional assets or assistance. Those in a position to leave money are often told not to leave their grandchild with disabilities anything because the child may lose government benefits. Avoid confusion and take a look below at some helpful planning do's and don'ts.
If you're concerned about who will look after your loved one, you're not alone! Some families rely on other family members or friends, while others enter into formal arrangements with individuals or advocacy organizations such as The Arc. An advocate can offer advice and other assistance concerning an individual with disabilities, but cannot make legal decisions. Legal decisions are generally handled through a Guardianship.
Is leaving money to siblings on behalf of a person with disabilities a good or bad idea? Many attorneys advise parents of a child with disabilities to disinherit that child and leave their inheritances to the child’s siblings. If they receive any money, they will lose their government benefits, so why leave them anything at all? The sibling can use that money to look after and provide for the child with disabilities during his or her lifetime, but they are not obligated to do so.
These inheritances are called “Morally Obligated Gifts.” The sibling is morally obligated to provide funds, but not legally obligated. Distributions to siblings are now their monies and not those of the child with special needs. Money can be stolen, mismanaged and attached through divorce, bankruptcy or lawsuit. Money may never be used on behalf of the child with special needs as originally intended.