My mom passed away over a year ago her estate was left to me in a SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST account.This was done buy a senior services advisor that told her because I am on social security disability this was the only way to protect me from losing my income and an attorney would have to be the excecutor this is not true. My problem is I want to invest the money,but because the attorney is the executor no financial instuition will touch it without charging me a large fee a month.It has been segusted for me to get the TRUSTEE SHIP name changed,the lawyer has no problem with that untill I suggest someone then he finds all kinds of reasons why not, with out taking it to court. My question is being mom was not told the right information is there a way to remove the attorney and give me control.
Thanks for your time,
2 Answers from Attorneys
Elder lawyers are properly advising clients about the estate planning needs when there are any children who may presently or in the future need government benefits.
If your are receiving any income needs-based government benefits, a Special or Supplemental Needs Trust is the way to prevent your losing your eligibility. This doesn't apply only to income, but also to medicaid and other such assistance. Just the medical cost aspect is a huge benefit to risk.
It doesn't mean that you can't have the benefits of the trust, just that it has to be paid out according to very specific tax laws. Many executors and trustees are not familiar with those requirements.
Hardly any financial will administer a trust, no matter what kind, unless the trust is for a very substantial amount of money, and there will always be fees that eat into the trust.
A lawyer does not have to be the executor. If the lawyer executor is not acting properly, s/he may be removed by the court.
If you feel that your situation - i.e., eligibility for benefits - is not true, meaning that you are not receiving on, and will not have a future need for, income eligibility based benefits, you should consult a lawyer who concentrates on disability / special needs / and estates litigation to evaluate your situation and your options. Whether or not you seek any accounting or changes in the trust and its administration, the executor lawyer cannot tell you what to do or whether you can go to court.
Unless you are a professional money and investment adviser, investment decisions should best be left to the professionals.
THIS RESPONSE IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE, SINCE I DO NOT HAVE ALL OF THE INFORMATION THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED, AND I DO NOT HAVE A REPRESENTATION AGREEMENT WITH YOU.
* If the answers to your question confirm that you have a valid issue or worthwhile claim, your next step should almost always be to establish a dialog with a lawyer who can provide specific advice to you. Contact a lawyer in your county or township.
* Another reason for contacting a lawyer is that it is often impossible to give a good answer in the Internet Q&A format without having more information. The unique circumstances of your situation and things that you may not have thought to mention in your question may completely change the answer. If you want to be sure that you have a complete answer to your question and an understanding of what that answer means, establish a connection with a lawyer who practices in the area of your concern.
It appears to me that your mother got the correct advice and the plan in place was appropriate.