Sep 03

What will happen to my special needs child when I can no longer care for them?

Special Needs Trust

mikel450 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

A special needs trust is a discretionary trust with the purpose of caring for and enhancing the lifestyle of a special needs person when you pass away or are no longer able to care for them.

In a special needs trust, the Trustee has full discretion over what to spend the money on-the beneficiary has no say so in how these funds are utilized. Due to this, the assets of the trust cannot be counted as part of their assets in determining eligibility for government programs such as SSI.

Qualifying for SSI opens the special needs person up to several beneficial government programs such as housing programs, Medicaid, a monthly income, and food assistance, along with counseling and rehabilitation services.  Programs such as these may not be available to your special needs person if funds are left directly to them through an inheritance until the funds have been depleted.  By establishing a special needs trust, you will allow your loved one to qualify for these programs while being able to enhance their quality of life with things not covered by government programs.

If no family member is available to serve as trustees, a suitable trustee can be found commonly at bank’s trust department, an accountant or an attorney.  The primary criteria used in disbursing funds are that the funds are not being used for things that would normally be covered by a government program.  The trust creator can also set out restrictions or stipulations as to the way they would like the funds disbursed.

Some expenses that special needs trust funds cover are things like supplemental housing costs, travel, automobiles, and items such as cable television, internet access, entertainment, or special services.

Special needs trusts can be funded for as little as ten dollars and can be fed over time with cash deposits, real or personal property, automobiles, and often times, life insurance benefits are directed to a special needs trust.  A special needs trust allows you the peace of mind knowing that your loved one will be cared for even after you can no longer do it yourself.

If you have additional questions about creating a special needs trust and live in the state of New York, don’t wait to get good advice.  Initial consultations are FREE. CONTACT US ONLINE or call our office at 1-800-471-4730.

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