How can money in a special needs trust be spent?

On Behalf of | Sep 6, 2022 | Estate Planning |

When you have a child with special needs, you never stop thinking about the future – even after they’ve reached adulthood. While your child may have government benefits to pay for their personal needs, you end up providing a lot of “extras” out of your own pocket that help your child lead a comfortable, fulfilling life.

You’re worried, however, about what will happen to them when you’re gone. That’s where a special needs trust can come into play.

A special needs trust allows you to provide for your child after your death

Special needs trusts are set up in such a way that they do not interfere with your child’s eligibility for government benefits, including Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and housing assistance.

The money in the trust cannot be given directly to your child to buy the things they want, either. Instead, the trustee can use the money to pay for things like:

  • Uncovered medical expenses (like hearing aids or better eyeglasses than what they’d be provided on basic health insurance plans)
  • Special equipment that they may need, including mobility aids or home modifications
  • Furniture that will make them more comfortable, like an easy chair or a special mattress and bed
  • Companion services, including someone to help them with shopping, cooking or cleaning or just keep them from being lonely
  • Electronics, including things like computers, cell phones, tablets, a Kindle and internet service costs
  • Clothing and grooming needs, including haircuts, stylists, seasonal clothing and more
  • Travel costs for vacations and other recreational activities, including camps, movies, sports equipment, books, subscriptions to apps or streaming services and hobby supplies
  • Transportation costs, including the cost of ride-hailing services or modified vehicles that will accommodate a wheelchair

Setting up a special needs trust for a disabled adult child can seem intimidating – but it doesn’t have to be complicated. The right legal guidance can help you understand the pros and cons of adding such a trust to your estate plans, and that can make it easier to build a better future for your heirs.