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Planning for a Lifetime of Needs

Families of children and persons with special needs face unique estate planning challenges that must be addressed with extra thought and care. 

Because a special needs person may not be able to support themselves, they will rely on government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal. However, it’s important to understand that there may be things that those benefits don’t cover. A vital tool used to protect those benefits and extend support beyond their reach is a special needs trust. 

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 critical government programs. Special needs trusts can be used for lifetime giving or for inheritances. If you have a child or other loved one with special needs, you may want to work with a qualified attorney to establish and administer a special needs trust.

To highlight the importance of this planning, we have developed this page filled with tips, strategies, and expert advice on implementing the right special needs plan for yourself or a loved one. If you have any questions or need help getting started, schedule a free discovery call and let’s discuss your specific planning needs.

Reference Guide 5:

Special Needs – Letter of Intent

As a parent of a child with special needs, you may want to consider drafting a Letter of Intent as a companion piece to a special needs trust. This document can be critical in ensuring that your trustees and caregivers understand your child’s interests, routines, abilities, and hopes, and wishes for their future and well being. Download our free Letter of Intent tool to help you get started.

Providing For a Special Needs Loved One When You’re Gone – Special Needs Planning

Special needs persons include those with disabilities, developmental delays such as autism, those who have suffered a devastating personal injury, and those suffering from mental illness. These individuals 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 (SNT) is an estate planning tool that can help you provide for the needs of an individual who is disabled without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government benefits. Sometimes also referred to as a supplemental needs trust, an SNT is a legal vehicle enabling assets to be held on behalf of someone with disabilities without affecting their eligibility for means-tested public benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income. While assets held by the trust are not “countable” for the purpose of qualifying for such programs, there are strict regulations regarding disbursements. SNTs are meant to supplement the funds and services available through government programs.

Learn More with These Informative Articles and Podcasts


Absolute Trust Talk Ep. 041:
Special Needs Trusts: Don’t Let an Inheritance Blow Up Your Government Benefits


Absolute Trust Talk Ep. 016:
Behind the Scenes of Financial Planning for a Family with Special Needs 


Absolute Trust Talk Ep. 010:
Thinking Outside the Family: Special Needs Trusts and Professional Fiduciaries 


Absolute Trust Talk Ep. 008:
Financial Planning for Families With Special Needs Individuals

Download Our Free Guidebooks Below

The Absolute Trust Council team is pleased to provide a library of free articles, checklists, guidebooks and more to address the most common estate planning questions and concerns in practical, easy-to-understand language. We have authored each publication as part of our commitment to provide you with all of the tools you’ll need to educate yourself about the estate planning and make the planning process pleasant, convenient and efficient.

Guidebook 1:

A Will is Not Enough – Securing Your Legacy with Estate Planning

Life can change in an instant. A will is not enough to be prepared. Get free access to our actionable guidebook and start protecting your legacy today. Download now. >

Guidebook 2:

Estate Planning – Beyond the Basics

The Essential Guide For Estate Planning Beyond the Basics. Learn how to comfortably define gray areas and assess your own unique needs to effortlessly build a secure future now. Download now. >

Guidebook 3:

An Introduction to Family Trusts

Building your estate plan couldn’t be easier. Get our free introductory guide to the number one used estate planning tool, family trusts, and understand exactly how we plan to protect your family. Download now. >

Guidebook 4:

Trust Administration – What Every Trustee and Beneficiary Needs to Know

Are you a Trustee or Beneficiary? Trust administration is much more work than it seems. Let us help you navigate the complicated steps required by law. Download now. >

Guidebook 5:

Interviewing Tips – What to Ask A Prospective Estate Planning Attorney

Looking for the right estate planning attorney? Let us empower you to have the final word. Get a free copy of our interview tips straight to your inbox. Download now. >

Reference Guide 1:

Checklist of Tasks to Complete After A Death

Our list of what to do when someone dies will help you get organized with ease during the hardest period of time. It’s yours FREE. Download now. >

Reference Guide 2:

Probate Fee Calculator

Facing Probate? Learn how to calculate your personalized probate fees based on individual estate size. Download now. >