Estate Planning: Get A Special Needs Trust In Place For Your Child

Posted on: 8 August 2022

 A trust is an excellent stand-in for a will but the way a trust can be personalized makes it even more valuable. A special needs trust should be part of your estate plan if you have a child that needs continuing care after you are gone. Read on to find out more. 

Trusts Are Different

When it comes to estate planning, a trust is extremely important. A trust features these key benefits:

  • Privacy – Only the trust's creator and the trustee know the full scope of a trust. A will, however, is public information.
  • Flexibility – Only with a trust can an inheritance be set up to be paid in certain increments, times, occasions, etc.
  • Ease of Use – A trust is excluded from probate matters. It goes into effect immediately and continues to be effective as long as necessary.

Special Needs Trust and Funding

A trust is primarily a financial instrument. If you want your special needs child to continue to be cared for, the trust must be funded. That means adding money to the trust. Speak to your estate lawyer to find out how much money should be used to fund the estate. The amount you need to fund the trust will depend on the age of your child, therefore. However, you should keep in mind that your child will still receive government disability payments throughout their life, and you need a way to manage those funds.

Deciding on a Trustee

The trustee will ensure that your child receives their money in a manner that you decide upon when you create the trust. You can be as detailed as you wish with the trust instructions. You might want to indicate that funds are to be used to directly pay certain living expenses, for example, for the child. That could mean paying for groceries, power, entertainment, and more. However, the trustee is primarily concerned with the financial aspects of the trust. You must also put in place a guardian for the child.

Deciding on a Guardian

If you are a single parent, you will also need to appoint a guardian. The guardian is tasked with the day-to-day care of the child if they are not being cared for in a facility. The money from the trust may be provided to the guardian directly for taking care of the child. In most cases, guardianship issues are the province of the will.

Speak with the trustee and the guardian before adding them to your estate plans. Then, speak to your estate lawyer for help creating a plan that covers your special needs child.

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