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Planning for Your Disabled Child’s Future With a Special Needs Trust

Posted on in Estate Planning

Bay Area estate planning lawyerIf your child has a mental or physical disability, he or she may depend on you for help with schoolwork, chores, or everyday tasks like eating and bathing. As a parent of a disabled child, it is important to consider how your child will manage once you are no longer able to care for him or her. If you fall ill or pass away, who will provide the assistance your child needs? How will these services be paid for? A special needs trust is designed to address these types of issues.

How Does a Special Needs Trust Work?

Disabled children may require assistance even after they reach adulthood. Some people with disabilities can accomplish most tasks on their own while others require assistance with many of their daily activities. Whatever your child’s needs, a special needs trust or “supplemental needs trust” can help you plan for a time that you cannot provide this assistance yourself.

A trust is a legal and financial relationship between a trustor, trustee, and beneficiary. The trustor, or person who creates the trust, gives a trustee the right to hold money or property for the benefit of a third-party beneficiary. In the case of a special needs trust, the beneficiary is the child with special needs. The trustee is often a sibling or other trusted loved one. The trustee is responsible for using the money placed in the trust to benefit your child. Funds contained in a special needs trust may be used for medical expenses such as physical therapy that are not covered by other programs, caregiving, transportation, recreation, and more.

Does a Special Needs Trust Prevent My Child from Getting Social Security Benefits?

One of the most important benefits associated with special needs trusts is that, when used correctly, they do not reduce the beneficiary’s eligibility for public programs. The assets contained in the trust are owned by the trust, not the beneficiary. This means that your child could still get social security disability, Medicaid, or other government benefits. If you were to directly give your child money or leave him or her an inheritance through your will, this money could prevent him or her from getting other forms of financial assistance.

Contact a San Francisco County Estate Planning Attorney

A special needs trust can help you ensure that your child has the financial resources he or she needs after you can no longer directly provide these resources. To learn more about setting up a special needs trust, contact Bay Area estate planning lawyer Martin Alperen. Call 415-534-1200 for a free consultation.




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