If you are like many other California parents, you worry about not being around for your children when they really need you. As they grow into adulthood and begin taking on their own parenting worries, you may be able to slowly part with most of that worry as you watch them become more and more mature. If you have a special-needs child, however, that feeling probably increases over time as you get older and wonder who will care for your child when you no longer can. A special needs trust is one way you can help provide a more stable future for your child.
According to FindLaw, a special needs trust can help protect government benefits that the child can take advantage of by ensuring assets passed to the child are not counted as income for the recipient. For example, if you decide to gift a sum of money to your child, it may be considered income that would disqualify the recipient from receiving government benefits that he or she is currently enjoying. This could include vocational training/work programs, Medicaid or housing subsidies.
Your child can continue to qualify for this valuable aid, however, if you place assets into a special needs trust. The trustee, hopefully, someone who is worthy of your trust, has complete control of the fund. Because the beneficiary has no say in the distribution of the funds, administrators of those government programs typically overlook trust assets when determining your child’s eligibility for their specific programs. Trusts can also be used for additional inheritances or any other funds that may be bestowed on the child. In looking at the trust from another viewpoint, it is safeguarded from being plundered by a lawsuit brought against the child, too.
If you have a special needs child and are considering how to best care for him or her when you are gone, you may want to consult an experienced probate attorney.
This is an informative article about special-needs trusts. It should not be considered legal advice.