As the parent of a special needs child in Lee County, it is important to take their needs into consideration when you plan your estate. Doing so can ensure that they are taken care of after your death.
A good way to do this is by setting up a special needs trust. This type of trust can be set up for anyone who qualifies as disabled. Because your child will not own the assets of this type of trust, the funds he or she receives from it will not count against other benefit thresholds such as Medicaid or Social Security Income.
In order to set up a special needs trust, you should seek the advice of an estate planning attorney. This way you will be able to set up the trust how you would like it according to the needs of your child. A lawyer can also advise you on selecting a trustee who will manage the trust and give your child assets from the trust. You may wish to name a family member as a trustee or a professional trustee.
It is also a good idea to include a letter of intent with the trust. This is not a legal document, rather a letter that will make your wishes known for the care of your child. You can also include how you would like the assets in the trust to be used. A letter of intent should be kept updated, as your child’s needs and preferences change.
With a special needs trust in place, you can rest assured that your child will be well taken care after you pass on.
Source: The Fiscal Times, “Estate Planning Guide for a Special Needs Child,” Sonya Stinson, July 10, 2013