SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST
Special Needs Children Require Special Planning.
Parents of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities devote countless hours to caring for their special needs. Parenting a child with special needs requires that you trust many doctors, teachers, therapists, and care providers to give you and your child the best advice at the right time. You must also trust yourself to make decisions that could impact your child’s future comfort, care, and development.
Concerns about the future are very real. Where will your child live after you and your spouse are no longer alive? Who will care for your child, and where will the money come from? A document that may be most helpful for families needing to make provisions for a child with special needs is a special needs trust. This allows a trustee, typically a family member familiar with your child’s needs, to use funds placed in a trust by you, for the necessary care. It offers sufficient flexibility to handle almost any situation, while providing privacy in the details of the arrangements made by parents, grandparents, or others who wish to make a gift to a child with special needs.
While you may feel that trusts are only for the very wealthy, the financial situation of a family with special needs require prudent life care planning to prevent loss of agency funding after the parents are gone. For example, assets received as an inheritance might disqualify an adult child from receiving public funds for housing, medical care, and other government programs. Assets placed in a properly drafted trust, however, and directed to uses other than those available through government sponsorship, remain available for the individualized care a parent might wish to provide.
Additional benefits of a Special Needs Trust include the freedom of choice and avoiding conservatorship. The beneficiary can use his or her Medi-Cal benefits and trust distributions to pay for medical services not provided by Medi-Cal, or for a specialist who does not accept Medi-Cal payments.
In addition to preserving eligibility for government assistance, a Special Needs Trust can save the beneficiary from paying for the ongoing costs and formalities of maintaining a court-supervised conservatorship.
Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in protecting your special needs loved one’s eligibility for government assistance and improving his or her quality of life.
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