Many parents worry that their child with special needs may find life impossible once they are gone. After all, the often astronomical cost of living with special needs requires government assistance, but leaving a large sum of money to a beneficiary may disqualify him or her from receiving that crucial help.
Fortunately, estate planning law provides ways for loving parents to provide for their child long after they pass away without jeopardizing the child's government assistance. Through a special needs trust, it is possible to leave a large number of resources to a child, while limiting his or her access to them in order to keep qualifying for government subsidy.
If you face just this sort of concern, it is vital to consult with an attorney who understands exactly the assistance that your child needs and what thresholds you must avoid exceeding.
You must build special needs trusts carefully
The most important aspect of any special needs trust is ensuring that the beneficiary does not control how he or she benefits from it. As long as the beneficiary cannot control the amount of his or her distribution or how often they occur, the trust can provide for many kinds of needs without disqualifying the beneficiary from government assistance.
It is also important to make sure that the beneficiary does not retain the ability to revoke the trust. However, the trust should include some sort of provision that terminates the trust if it endangers the beneficiary's eligibility for assistance.
With proper precautions, the beneficiary can continue his or her eligibility to government assistance such as Medicaid and Medicare, without which even a generous inheritance may drain away quickly.
Special needs trusts can cover many needs and luxuries
Distributions from a special needs trust may go toward standard needs such as housing, dietary needs and transportation, but are not limited to these uses. They may also go toward various kinds of insurance and medical care, such as dental and eye care.
Your child with special needs may have ongoing therapy needs that the distributions may reasonably sustain. Even with government assistance, the needs of some children are still quite expensive, and require ongoing investment.
Fortunately, luxuries are also covered by a special needs trust, if it is set up properly. This may include athletic equipment and events, computer equipment, money to purchase gifts, tickets to entertainment events or even payments for a companion.
Get the help you need before it's too late
No matter what your child's needs are, a skilled attorney can help you create the perfect trust for the child you love dearly. With proper legal guidance, you can create a beautiful legacy while protecting your child's rights and wellbeing.