What things should I consider when setting up a special needs trust?

Families with disabled children are wise to consider including a special needs trust in their estate plan. These trusts are a valuable tool when there is a concern about preserving the child’s ability to receive government benefits for his care. However, as with any other estate planning document, there are many things to consider. Families should ask themselves the following questions:

  1. Is your child physically or mentally disabled?
  2. Is your child receiving government benefits, such as Social Security or Medicaid?
  3. Does your child have the ability to make responsible decisions about accessing his finances?
  4. Does your child have the ability to manage his assets?
  5. Does your child understand the implications of receiving an inheritance outright?
  6. Does your child have access to other funds for his care?
  7. Who do you trust to be in charge of managing your child’s inheritance?
  8. Does your child have a comfortable relationship with your successor trustee?

The answers to each of these questions will affect the special needs trust that is created for your child. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can help guide you through the process of creating the trust that is right for your particular situation.

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