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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 7, 2007 / 19 Iyar, 5767

How do we plan for our disabled child's future?

By Jan L. Warner & Jan Collins


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Q: My wife and I have been taking care of our disabled daughter (now age 40) who has always lived with us. We have been appointed by the courts of our state as her guardians, a position that allows us to make her health-care decisions and handle her finances. She receives SSI, Medicaid and other benefits that help us take care of her.


Last year, we were involved in a serious accident and she was injured. We consulted with a lawyer who, after a time, called us in and told us that he was going to be able to get our daughter some money. Knowing she would lose her benefits if the funds were paid directly to her, we asked about our options to protect them. This lawyer was honest enough to tell us he did not know how it worked, but he would refer us to someone who could.


We met with another gentleman and came away with several suggestions, including the use of a special type of trust to protect her governmental benefits so that we could provide some "extras" for her that we would not otherwise have money to provide.


As with most parents with disabled children, it is our nature to attempt to protect her benefits, so we have been reading up on what the lawyer suggested to us in order to do what is best for her. We know about special-needs trusts as our wills contain them, but we aren't sure this lawyer knows what he is talking about because he told us that our state of residence would have to be the ultimate beneficiary of this trust. While we don't want to hurt his feelings, it is our child's future we are considering, and we don't want her money going to the state.


A: The short answer to your questions is that the lawyer who advised you most probably knows what he is talking about. While the exact manner in which you may proceed will depend on federal law and the law of your state of residence, at the risk of oversimplifying a most complicated area of the law, we can tell you a few things that might help:


The assets of a disabled individual who has not yet reached age 65 can be transferred to an appropriately prepared irrevocable trust that will prevent the disabled individual from losing current benefits, from losing assets to creditors, or to help him or her qualify for Medicaid benefits. These types of trusts are often funded with the proceeds of injury or accident settlements and are called "(d)(4)(A)" or "payback" trusts after the portion of the United States Code of Laws that allows them.


While the transfer of one's own assets into a trust creates a five-year look-back period and penalties, (d)(4)(A) is one of two "safe harbors" that are exempt from the penalty period.


Funded with the beneficiary's own assets, this type of trust mandates that at the death of the beneficiary and/or termination of the trust, all assets remaining must go toward repaying any state governmental program that provided Medicaid to the beneficiary. Once Medicaid has been reimbursed, any balance may be distributed to the other beneficiaries. This trust must be irrevocable. Generally, it must be created by court order. And the beneficiary can't be the trustee.


While a detailed discussion of all of the ramifications of using (d)(4)(A) trusts is beyond the scope of our column, these types of trusts must include payback provisions because governmental programs provide benefits. Just what the trustee can and can't do is rather complicated, so if you or your wife will be trustees, we suggest that you read up and take advice from a qualified lawyer or trustee.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JAN L. WARNER received his A.B. and J.D. degrees from the University of South Carolina and earned a Master of Legal Letters (L.L.M.) in Taxation from the Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a frequent lecturer at legal education and public information programs throughout the United States. His articles have been published in national and state legal publications. Jan Collins began co-authoring Flying SoloŽ in 1989. She has more than 27 years of experience as a journalist, writer, and editor. To comment or ask a question, please click here.

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