Parents with special needs children live with the daily challenge of caring for this special child – both emotional and financial. Unfortunately, many parents believe that they must disinherit the child in order to preserve government benefits.
This places the child at peril and/or places the other children in the family with a significant burden. With appropriate planning, the special needs child can be provided for without risking his or her governmental benefits.
The first question that a parent will ask is, “Who will care for my child when something happens to me?” Most parents assume a sibling will provide the emotional and financial support for their special needs child. A family member can, in all likelihood, provide the love and emotional support for the special needs child. It can be a heavy financial burden to expect that family member to provide financial support as well.
Creating a Special Needs Trust (SNT) is a solution. This can provide the special needs child with the amount of care and support that the parents find appropriate after the parents are gone. This Trust can provide financial resources for the child that will not affect his or her eligibility for the all‑important government benefits such as Social Security Supplemental Income (SSI), Medicaid, and housing subsidy benefits.
The Special Needs Trust provides support for the child as long as this support does duplicate that provided by government benefits. So assets from a Special Needs Trust may be used to purchase items that will enhance the child’s quality of life, such as entertainment, family vacations, etc.
A Special Needs Trust must be carefully crafted to achieve these goals and to conform to federal guidelines and state requirements. A properly and carefully crafted Special Needs Trust, however, will allow your child to receive the benefits of inheritances from you and other loved ones all without jeopardizing the child’s government benefits.