Planning & Caring for Children with Special Needs

Parents of Children with Special Needs Have Options

Parents of children with disabilities are often faced with the challenge of providing a level of care most families never experience.

Specialized care can be very expensive, and parents may have to provide this care well after the child has become an adult. If parents can no longer provide specialized care for the child for whatever reason, a third party must be engaged. This can take extensive planning, planning that not all parents of special needs children may consider.

Help may come from a family member, a private program or perhaps from one or more public programs. When the parents pass away or are no longer able to provide for the child’s care, items such as housing, supervision, and special medical needs must somehow continue to be afforded. This is why special needs planning is essential.

One option available to families with disabled children includes a special needs trust, also referred to as supplemental needs trust. This trust protects family assets and maintains public assistance programs while sustaining a disabled child’s care and quality of life after the parents or guardians have passed away.

A trust holds money that might have otherwise passed to the child through an inheritance, a settlement of a personal injury lawsuit, as a gift from a relative or through the parents’ personal planning for the disabled child. By holding the assets in a special needs trust with the child as the beneficiary, the child’s eligibility for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid can be preserved.

The money held in trust must be used for the child’s supplemental needs such as education, vacations, entertainment, special interests or hobbies. If the money is paid directly to the child or used for the child’s basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter, it can be counted as income and may disqualify the child from receiving full public benefits from SSI and Medicaid.

There are different types and requirements of special needs trusts, and each trust must contain specific language in order to maintain the child’s right to receive public assistance. We can help you choose which option is best for your family.

If you have a special needs child, please let us provide you with the peace of mind to know that your child will be taken care of after you no longer can.