The benefits of a special needs trust

For parents of physically or mentally disabled children in Oklahoma, a special needs trust can be a powerful tool to help cover the cost of their care. The trust can be designed to function while a parent is still alive or after a parent passes on. If the trust makes payments while a parent is still living, it can and should be designed in a way to ensure that the child remains eligible for government benefits.

If the trust is designed to take effect when a parent passes on, assets will be transferred from the estate to the trust. Money will then be distributed from the trust to the child in accordance with the parent's wishes as set forth in the trust document. Regardless of when the trust takes effect, it is important to select the right trustee. This person should have the ability to manage money while looking out for the long-term interests of the child.

Another benefit to using a special needs trust is that friends and other family members may contribute to the trust. This provides another option to secure the long-term financial well-being of any child who needs special care. For those planning on creating a special needs trust, it is important to understand that the trust itself should be named a beneficiary of the grantor's estate.

Creating trusts can be a great way to provide for a dependent's long-term care needs. However, making sure that the trust is created properly may be a complex process. Accordingly, it may be worthwhile to consult an estate planning attorney prior to creating the trust documents. This may make it easier to ensure that a child is not made ineligible for government benefits.

Source: PACER.org, "The Special Needs Trust", October 20, 2014

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