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Setting Up a Special Needs Trust


There are many different kinds of children in our world of varying physical, emotional, social and academic abilities.  If you are the parent of a special needs child, making sure you are accommodating for your child is one of the most integral parts of your trust.  Just as there may be special accommodations for them at their school or at their workplace that you may have helped them set up, you also need to make sure you can still advocate for them when you are gone through the establishment of a Special Needs Trust (SNT). While most families with special needs children with face stressful and unique financial pressures, a little planning ahead can go a long way to ease the stress and financial burden

Many special needs children receive regular help from specialists; such as psychologists, speech therapists, or occupational therapists, who help ensure their success and progress in a world that is sometimes hard for them to navigate on their own.  Other special needs children also have regular doctor’s visits that are an important part of their care.  Ensuring your child’s therapies and doctor’s visits are as uninterrupted as possible and providing them with the standard of living you want for them will guarantee their greatest chance of success, even after you are gone.  Most children would feel great loss and sadness when their parents die, but a special needs child can be affected by a parent’s death in a much more acute way and may even have a harder time understanding what has happened to the parents who loved them and cared for them their whole lives.


As soon as your child is diagnosed with any kind of disability, it is imperative to have a trust drafted to meet their needs. While the thought of incurring legal fees on top of the seemingly endless medical bills that a typical family with a special needs child has to pay may sound daunting, establishing a Special Needs Trust is a wise investment that can help support your child’s future long after you are gone- and save your family thousands of dollars in legal fees or taxes down the road.


There are a couple different options to choose from when establishing a Special Needs Trust.  First, there is the “Stand-Alone” SNT.  What this means is that this SNT is not part of another trust and exists entirely on its own.  The second option is to include an SNT as a “Subtrust” in your established Revocable Living Trust (RLT).  What this entails is adding a specific SNT section into your trust that includes all the specifications that would be in a stand-alone SNT.

 

In addition to a Special Needs Trust, there are many established government resources and programs to assist a special needs individual. However, you could jeopardize these resources if you do not set up your SNT with an educated estate planner who is aware of all requirements and laws that must be adhered to in order for your special needs child to keep their government benefits.  

To discuss the best option for your Special Needs Trust, contact our office for a complimentary consultation today! We can provide details of each option, and work together to determine the best way to ensure your child is well-provided for.

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