Four Things You Should Know About A Special Needs Trust

Planning for the future of a child with special needs can be overwhelming. There are so many details to consider. Planning ahead to secure their lifestyle and health-related needs requires a lot of time and energy. Even the idea of how much money to leave them is challenging because you could inadvertently put their access to government benefits at risk.

It is recommended that you work with a lawyer who fully understands the intricacies of this area of law, as it will give you the peace of mind knowing that your child will maintain the life you’ve worked hard to provide. But, before you go to see your special needs planning lawyer, you should have an understanding of the basics.  Here are four things you should know about planning for a child with special needs.

  1. What is a Third Party Special Needs Trust?

A Third Party Special Needs Trust is a tool that allows parents or other third parties to leave certain assets to children or adults with special needs, without risking the loss of needs-based government benefits. These types of trusts are also called Supplemental Needs Trusts because they are designed to allow for payment of supplement needs not already provided by the government.

  1. Can the funds from a Third Party Special Need Trust be used for anything my child needs?

No! There are very stringent restrictions regarding what Special Needs Trust funds can be used to purchase. In general, if the beneficiary is receiving SSI benefits, Money in a Special Needs Trust should not be used to pay for housing and food.  If you have questions about what you can and cannot purchase with funds from a Third Party Special Needs Trust, contact your Special Needs Planning lawyer.

  1. Can other relatives help fund a Third Party Special Needs Trust?

Yes! Grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends can coordinate their estate planning to fund a Third Party Special Needs Trust. A lot of people think that because a person receives government benefits that they should be disinherited completely. This is not the case if you set up a Special Needs Trust up properly.

  1. A Third Party Special Needs Trust Requires Trustworthy Administration.

Just like any type of trust, it is critical to find a trustee for the Special Needs Trust that is suited for the position. The trustee should understand Third Party Special Needs Trust requirements and the laws governing the distribution of assets. They also must be willing to follow all of the instructions in the Trust.

If you need help securing the future of an individual with special needs, we encourage you to contact the Law Office of Sheri R. Abrams at (571) 328-5795 to schedule an appointment.