As a parent, you want to see your child thrive. For most parents, that will require roughly two decades of intensive effort followed by multiple decades of emotional and sometimes financial support.
If you have a child with special needs, they may never achieve truly independent living. Instead, they may always need someone to manage their affairs and help them handle the details of daily life. Whether you have started to worry about what will happen to your child after you die or you have started to think about their life as an adult, you may want to start thinking about creating a special needs trust.
When funded by a parent rather than the beneficiary themselves, a third-party special needs trust can be a powerful resource for your loved one with special needs.
Trust assets can augment someone’s lifestyle
Some adults with special needs will want to leave their parents’ homes. They might move into an assisted living facility that helps support people with special needs or a group home where they can have roommates.
Often, qualification for necessary benefits will depend on your child having a limited monthly income. You can structure and fund a trust so that your child receives extra support every month without disqualifying them for state benefits like Medicaid.
Putting an inheritance in a trust reduces financial abuse concerns
Some people will manipulate, trick or threaten others for personal financial gain. Those with special needs are particularly vulnerable to this kind of misconduct, as they may not know how to identify those with malicious intent or how to advocate for themselves.
By placing the inheritance for your child in a trust, you make it harder for individuals who really just want access to those resources to take advantage of your child.
A trustee can provide personal and emotional support to your child
After your death, your child’s biggest issue won’t probably be financial. They will likely struggle to adjust to the emotional and social changes that come from losing a loved one and a caregiver.
The trustee who manages trust assets and distributes them to your child with special needs can serve as a sort of surrogate parental figure, providing real-world support and practical guidance for your child when they are vulnerable. You can make sure there will always be someone there to advocate for your child, even if you can’t.
Planning and funding a special needs trust will protect the child you love and give you peace of mind about their future.