Families of children with special needs face specific estate planning challenges that must be very carefully addressed. Parents, grandparents and other family members can ensure or contribute to the support of a special needs person by creating a special needs trust.
Special needs persons include those with disabilities, developmental delay, such as autism, those who have suffered a devastating personal injury, and those suffering from mental illness. They may not be able to support themselves and may need to rely upon government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal.
A special needs trust allows parents, grandparents or other family members to set aside money or other assets to provide for the special needs person without disqualifying them from these important government programs. Special needs trusts can be used for lifetime giving or for inheritances.
Planning for special needs trusts requires careful consideration of a variety of issues. Trustee selection is critical because these trusts will last for the beneficiary’s whole life. Planning must include creating a mechanism for supervising and replacing a trustee, if necessary. Flexibility to address changes in the law or changes in the beneficiary’s circumstances must also be built into the special needs trust.
Every special needs trust must be customized to meet the unique requirements of the special needs person and the family creating the trust. We can assist you with creating a special needs trust that will provide a comfortable life for your disabled family member.