Sep 2014

Should You Create a Special Needs Trust?

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Parents and guardians of special needs children know that caring for an individual with special needs requires a great deal of love, time, and energy. In many cases, it also demands considerable funds and expert legal advice. If you have a special needs child, you probably have concerns about who will look after your child’s medical expenses and other financial needs when you pass away and your child enters adulthood.

Although it can be difficult to think about not being around to guide and care for your child, the reality is that you won’t always be available to look after your loved ones. Fortunately, an irrevocable special needs trust – also known as a “supplemental support trust” or “supplemental needs trust” – can ensure your adult child is financially supported after you pass away.

Special Needs Trusts in Missouri

Special needs trusts address the problem of gifting assets to an individual who receives certain government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Because recipients of these programs must adhere to restricted income rules, a parent or guardian can jeopardize a recipient’s eligibility if they gift assets directly to a special needs child in their estate plan. If your child makes too much money or owns property outright, he or she might lose these important benefits. This is where the special needs trust and expert legal advice can help.

To avoid making your child ineligible for federal benefits, you can create a trust that allows the child to continue to receive benefits along with your estate assets. Like any other type of trust, you create a special needs trust by naming a beneficiary (in this case, your child), appointing a trustee to oversee the trust, and funding the trust with assets. In a special needs trust, the child can receive trust assets over and above what the government provides. The money from the trust can be used to purchase clothing, meals, personal care items, books, computer equipment, entertainment, home items, and other things to make your child’s life more comfortable and enjoyable.

Special Needs Trusts Require Careful Planning

To preserve your child’s eligibility to receive crucial benefits from federally-funded programs, it’s important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney that can provide you with valuable legal advice and is familiar with drafting special needs trusts. There are several different types of special needs trusts, and it’s imperative to pick the correct type for your unique situation. The trust must also contain special language that guarantees the child’s benefits remain in place.

Springfield, Missouri Estate Planning Attorneys

To discuss the benefits a special needs trust can offer you and your family, contact the estate planning attorneys at the Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC today at (417) 841-2775 to schedule an estate planning consultation and gain the valuable legal advice you need.

This website has been prepared by The Law Office of Randy L. Smith, LLC for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.