When you sit down with an estate planning attorney to talk about a Trust, you learn pretty quickly that there is a Trust type for any scenario. And this is a great thing — after all, you can never have enough peace of mind when it comes to your family’s unique needs and wants. If you do not believe us, ask any parent of a child with special needs how beneficial a Special Needs Trust is for them.

A common concern many of these parents had before setting up one of these Trusts centered around what might happen to their sweet child after they are gone. And trust us when we say their list of questions and concerns is lengthy and warranted:

Who will care for my child, and what might that look like? 

How will future care and services be paid for? 

How do we ensure their evolving needs are covered?

How will their inheritance be protected? 

In my book Who Gets Your Stuff When You Die: 14 Secrets For Protecting Everyone You Love And Everything You Own, I explain that it is critical for us to know everything about you and your family, especially if you have a child with special needs. A Special Needs Trust can protect their inheritance and provide vital support as they age.

Here is a little more about what we mean by that.

Special Needs Trust — Defined

A Special Needs Trust (also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust) is created while you are living and is 100% customized to the disabled dependent’s individual needs. It provides a child with their own share of the inheritance and gives them the ability to pay for future care and services that may or may not be covered by government benefits.

Examples of future care and services you want to continue include but are not limited to the following:

  • Therapies 
  • Special equipment
  • Education
  • Travel costs associated with medical appointments
  • Housing
  • Additional medical care
  • Recreation 

By establishing a Special Needs Trust, a parent or guardian can make it possible for beneficiary with a disability to receive assets without threatening their eligibility for government programs or benefits. For example, there may be language that says, “Trust funds may not be used to pay for any medical expenses that are covered by Medicare or Medicaid.” What this does is exclude the funds in the trust from being considered when determining eligibility for Medicare or Medicaid. 

This leaves their funds available for the other needs mentioned above that are not covered.

When you create a Special Needs Trust, you name a trustee or trustees to manage the trust assets for the benefit of your child. Choose someone you know who cares about your child and is willing to assume responsibility for caring for them. This person should also be familiar with government benefits and how to navigate the system to make short work of something that may bring others to tears.

How Do I Get Started?

  1. First, you need to gather together your financial information and a brief family history.
  2. Second, you need to sketch out your wishes for your Special Needs Trust. This includes making decisions on the amount of financial support your child with special needs will require over his or her life, protecting his or her governmental benefits, and determining how your other children fit into your estate plan.
  3. Third, you need to decide who will manage your child’s finances. Other than deciding to create a special needs plan, this is your most important choice. 

These critical pieces of information will help the trustee find resources in the community, improve your child’s quality of life, make the transition easier, and help your child enjoy the maximum degree of independence. 

Call Leigh Hilton PLLC Today!!

Flexibility in estate planning is important, especially when you have a child with special needs. Please call Leigh Hilton, PLLC, so that we can help ensure your family will be taken care of in the best way possible. Proper planning of an estate, whether through a Will, Trust, Special Needs Trust, or all three, helps ensure your family is cared for.

Leigh Hilton, PLLC, wants to be your first call every time for any estate planning need. We look forward to serving you.

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