An Autistic Adult 50 Years of Age and Living in a Group Home is About to Inherit a Lot of Money: How Can the Family Protect It?

HNWPublic Benefits Law for Special Needs and Disabled Persons, Special Needs Trusts for Minor Children and Adults

Autistic AdultA colleague of mine was involved in a situation involving an autistic adult about 50 years old residing in a group home with a part-time job.  The family is attempting to file for guardianship of her because she’s about to inherit a lot of money that will disqualify her from public benefits, including Medicaid.

The family attorney was looking for guidance about “incapacity” and what might be the best approach to protect her inheritance from mandatory spenddown.

My opinion is that simply getting an order of guardianship will not solve the problem.  If a disabled individual inherits money in their own name, with or without a guardian, I believe that will be a problem for Medicaid.

Keep in mind that until the distribution is received by the disabled person or by someone else on her behalf, it is not countable, so if you can arrange with the executor not to make any distributions to her at this time, it will give you time to figure out the best course of action.  I think the creation of a special needs trust is the solution.

If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Special Needs Trust Attorney

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