Planning for a disabled child’s future with a special needs trust

Countless families across the United States care for disabled minor children and adult children. When making an estate plan, Oklahoma City residents who have a disabled child should take into consideration what will happen after they are gone. Who will make sure the child’s needs are met?

This is where a special needs trust can be essential, states the American Bar Association. Special needs trusts ensure a disabled beneficiary’s needs are taken care of. After both parents are gone, the trustee of a special needs trust should be able to handle the disabled child’s medical care costs, living expenses and other financial considerations.

When planning a special needs trust, it is often in the beneficiary’s best interest to appoint an impartial trustee with experience in these kinds of trusts. The trustee should be fully apprised of the disabled individual’s personal needs and have a knowledge of how government benefits work with trust distributions.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a special needs trust should be set up so that it does not count as a financial asset, so the beneficiary will still be eligible for government disability benefits and other services. In most cases, people with disabilities will still need public benefits even when they are receiving help from their trusts.

Parents who are planning for their disabled child’s future needs may be tempted to name a family member or close friend as a trustee, or to leave funds in a will to another family member to use for the disabled child. The American Bar Association does not recommend these approaches. The same is true for leaving assets outright to the disabled person without designating instructions for their use in a trust. Planning for a loved one who needs special care can be a complex procedure. Consulting with an estate planning attorney to ensure a disabled beneficiary is taken care of would be a wise choice.

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