As the parent of a special needs child, you likely spend a good portion of your time making sure that he or she receives the help he or she needs. But what happens when you are no longer around to oversee that help? Establishing a special needs trust for his or her benefit may be the solution.
As FindLaw explains, you can place virtually any type of asset into your child’s special needs trust, including the following:
- Current Medicaid and Medicare benefits
- Current SSI benefits
- Current housing subsidies
- Current educational subsidies
- Current employment subsidies
- Life insurance policy on your life
By appointing yourself as trustee, you can continue to manage these assets just as you do now.
Placing your child’s assets in the trust means that it now owns them rather than you or your child owning them personally. This, in turn, maintains your child’s eligibility for not only the current benefits but also any that may become available in the future.
Assuming you appoint yourself as trustee, be sure to also appoint a successor trustee who will assume management of the trust’s assets if you become ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated or at your death. Obviously, you need to carefully consider who you will appoint since this person will be the one making trust distributions on behalf of your child.
Regardless of who you choose, however, you have the peace of mind knowing that, because your child is the only beneficiary of the trust, the successor trustee must act in a fiduciary capacity. This means that he or she must put your child’s best interests above anything else and only make distributions that directly benefit your child.