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Should a special needs trust be part of your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2020 | Estate Planning |

Whether you have considerable wealth or just a few assets, you want to leave something for your children after your death. If you have a son or daughter who has a disability, you may also want to use your estate plan to improve his or her quality of life. 

Disabled adults often qualify for needs-based government assistance, like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income. Funds from these programs cover housing costs, basic medical care and other fundamental living expenses. 

More than the basics

While government assistance may sustain your disabled child throughout adulthood, it does not often provide funds for items or experiences that make life worth living. A special needs trust, though, may give your son or daughter access to financial resources he or she can use for more than basic living and medical expenses. 

Supplemental expenses

When you establish a special needs trust, you do not give money, property or other assets to your disabled child. Instead, the trust holds funds for your son’s or daughter’s benefit, ensuring he or she remains eligible for needs-based programs. 

Provided your child only uses fund disbursements on supplemental expenses rather than for the same ones government assistance pays, he or she is likely to continue to be eligible for public help. The following expenses are usually permissible with a special needs trust: 

  • Travel 
  • Recreation 
  • Education 
  • Out-of-pocket medical care 

To fully enjoy his or her life, your son or daughter must be healthy, happy and comfortable. With the special needs trust you form, your child can pay for items and experiences that help him or her have a brighter future.